The Sri Lankan architect Minnette de Silva climbing to inspect concrete pillars and slab work at the De Saram house in Colombo.
In 1949, Minnette founded the Studio of Modern Architecture, her independent practice, which she would run out of the family home. She was reportedly one of only two women in the world at the time to have a practice under her own name, and vowed—as she mentions in her autobiography—to “conquer the distrust” of contractors, business firms and the government, as well as architectural patrons who, until her appearance on the scene, had never confronted a woman’s presence in their midst. While her logistical challenges were numerous—she even had to train her own draughtsman—Minnette would advocate replacing the prevailing Eurocentric vision of architecture with an approach that took the best of modernity, but anchored it in the rich architectural history of her own country.
What could have been an astonishing archive and historical record of her work and personal correspondence, today, exists, for the most part, only on the pages of her autobiography, and on the walls of a hotel run by her niece.
Click the link in bio to read Smriti Daniel’s (@smritten
) essay on Minnette de Silva’s legacy. Courtesy Helga de Silva Blow Perera/ Life and Work of an Asian Woman Architect. #Minnette #SriLanka #Kandy