By Supun Dias
The Condominium Management Authority (CMA) joined hands with the University of Moratuwa (UoM) to conduct research work in setting construction standards in the development of condominiums in Sri Lanka.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed recently by UoM Vice Chancellor Prof. Ananda Jayawardana and Condominium Management Authority (CMA) Chairman C.A. Wijeyeweere.
Recognizing the rapidly expanding trend, the CMA and UoM Architecture Department have embarked on a joint research venture to investigate the social, economic and environmental impact of high-rise living, in order to ensure the well-being of the people.
The research will mainly cover three areas. Defining the high-rise residential building typology, climate responsive design strategies for high-rise residential buildings and benchmarking the energy performance.
According to the researchers, Sri Lanka is heading towards a new age in high-rise residential living, as a solution for urban migration across all income levels. In the future, several issues may arise due to the increasing trend in the construction of high-rise residential buildings without building typology-specific regulations/guidelines.
Secondly, climate-responsive design is the first step in improving energy efficiency in any building. Achieving indoor thermal comfort in hot-humid climates such as in Colombo is a challenge due to the high temperature and humidity outdoors.
The high-rise residential building typology around the world does not seem to respond to climatic conditions as compact, core dependent form dominates from Singapore to Toronto. Therefore, the second step of the study will be to identify applicable climate-responsive design strategies for high-rise residential buildings in the hot-humid region.
The third area of research will be on high-rise residential development, which has the potential for energy saving than low-rise development. Therefore, not only can high-rise residential development be a solution for the housing issue but can also reduce the burden on energy supply if the design and operation are guided by energy-efficient strategies.
CMA Chairman C.A. Wijeyeweere said that with the end of the war in 2009, higher income and recent beautification of Colombo is moving people into the city at higher rates than in the past. He further stated that as urban migration continues, the Colombo housing market is reaching out to the challenge with a new building typology, the high-rise residential building.
“The new trend in vertical living is becoming prominent across all income levels as evident in the changing Colombo skyline. Though their numbers are still comparatively few, due to the scale and density of high-rise residential buildings, their dominance in the urban built environment is irrefutable,” he said.
“It is no doubt that high-rise living is a solution for urban migration. In countries where such living is popular, such as Singapore, highly specified regulations and guidelines are in place and they do not compromise on the quality of living. When specified regulations are not in place, the result is the construction of chaotic cities in Asia,” he added.