Heritage Madurai Story
Heritage Story

The story began with Madura Coats looking for a prospective buyer to take over the Madurai Club. When the news reached Grand Luxe Hotels, , they were immediately interested. The property had emotional significance for the owners who used to swim in the pool as children and learnt badminton here. The vast, park like atmosphere was home to many memories and they could not bear seeing it being pulled down, so they immediately offered to buy it.

A resort was planned keeping in mind Madurai's centuries of history and Geoffery Bawa's principles. While the emphasis lay on building an environment-friendly ‘green’ Resort, the management also ensured that the property’s historical value was carefully preserved.

Geoffrey Bawa

Within a career that spanned 40 years, Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa came to be regarded as one of the most respected and inspired architects in the world. Bawa excelled in building in a natural environment, creating spaces that blended the outside with the inside. A principle force behind a style of architecture known as ‘tropical modernism’, Bawa carried much of these ideals into the old Madurai Club.

Geoffrey Bawa was a 20th century Sri Lankan architect who left his footprint as one of the most influential and renowned Asian architects of his era. Belonging to the Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Bawa was the principal driving force behind what is now globally known as tropical modernism.

Bawa’s Style of Tropical Modernism

Tropical Modernism, which favored white abstract forms and horizontal rooflines, was a very new style at the time that Bawa started working on his designs.

He then polished his style more as he began building homes. The typical British ‘bungalow’ was a pavilion on one or two floors, cellular and extrovert surrounded by a large garden plot.

So Geoffrey turned towards a style of tropical modernism that suited Sri Lanka. His very first house in this style was for a doctor named A.S.H. de Silva on a steeply sloping site in Galle; and had overhanging pitched roofs that offered the best protection against the tropical sun and rain. The deconstructed elements of this uniquely designed house were reassembled on an exploding pinwheel plan and held together by a single raking roof plane.

Rebuilding History

Restoration of the Madurai Club was fittingly awarded to Bawa’s disciple, Sri Lankan architect and prodigy Vinod Jayasinghe. Maintaining Bawa’s unique style and most of the material he had used, Jayasinghe restored the resort to its former glory, along with the addition of modern conveniences. Leaving his own personal stamp on the project, Jayasinghe, in addition to personal courtyards and enclosed plunge pools in every villa, added an Olympic-sized, temple tank styled pool.

“Today, Heritage Madurai comprises 72 rooms including 34 villas. The old colonial bungalows have been refurbished maintaining that traditional South Indian flavor, only found in Madurai”.