Poruwadanda Factory Wagawaththa

Poruwadanda Factory Wagawaththa

The project was to build a Wooden Toy Factory on an abandoned Rubber estate, by a joint venture between a Norwegian investor and a Sri Lankan partner, with the toy products expected to be exported to the Nordic and Scandinavian Countries in Europe.

Norwegian client was to close down his wooden toy manufacturing facility in Czechoslovakia due to high labor cost in Europe and relocate the machinery and equipment to Sri Lanka, taking advantage of the tax concessions and investment incentives provided by the Board of Investment, and Sri Lankan competitive labor market. A sloping site was acquired for the purpose on the edge of a rubber plantation. Clients also required relying on natural lighting and ventilation systems to cut down long term energy costs.

Main Factory Building was designed as a bridge, spanning between two small hillocks on the site, using exposed Random Rubble retaining walls, to retain a single level toy manufacturing facility in the gradually sloping site. The Central monitor roofed steel portal frame structure on top was pre fabricated and brought to site for erection after completion of foundation civil works. Cantilevering Masonry boxes were used as protection for glazed aluminum framed windows giving a certain contemporary character to the exterior of the factory building. The double height parallel party walls up to window top level was constructed out of brickwork while rest were cladded with natural coloured Zinc Aluminum sheets with insulation, increasing the contemporary touch of the building. The internal finishes are inexpensive and hardwearing – power trowelled concrete floors on the ground and insulated Zinc Alum sheets on the roof. The cantilevering ‘Saw tooth’ service staircase further enhances the ‘modern outlook’ of the factory façade. Grey masonry cubes protrudes from vibrant yellow walls to contrast with the adjoining rubber estate, giving it the appearance of a ‘bright little toy’ similar to the ones manufactured in the factory.

Cement louver grills were placed under every window sill  are  intended to suck in air in turn to escape through the centrally located monitor roof, creating a stack effect inside the factory building, minimizing the need to use artificial ventilating systems.

Designed as a ‘Bright little toy’, the Euronor wooden toy factory was conceived as a bridge building between two small existing hillocks on the site. To maximize cross ventilation, stack effect is created within the building by the monitor roof and strategically positioned  cement louver grills under the window sill The cantilevering masonry boxes around the glazed aluminum windows give protection from elements – the sun and rain from all directions, in the ‘eve less’ contemporary styled factory building. This gives the building an interesting complexity unlike of a flat faced building and connects workers in all directions within the site.. The result is an abstract composition of walls , cubes, ramps and staircases that compliment the sloping terrain, landscape of the stream, the wild vegetation on it’s banks  and the surrounding rubber trees. Outer walls are painted in vibrant yellow. The aim was to relate the Architecture to ‘Toy Designs’, which is demonstrated by the colour of the façade, an explosion of light and energy within the rural context of Poruwadanda; which was well received by the workers. The textured façade come to life with the sun shadows and activity and go to sleep as lights being out off by workers one by one at night, giving quite a theatrical experience. The long facades either face the rubber estate on the fringe or the nearby Mawak oya stream.

Windows positioned on either side of the ‘long’ elevation give ample views of the adjoining rubber estate on one side and the scenic Mawak Oya stream and the wooded area beyond, on the other side, giving the workers the luxury of a ‘Resort’ surroundings, momentarily forgetting the industrialized nature of their craft. Interior spaces have been developed, keeping the philosophy of colour and energy and providing possibilities for different uses of spaces to the dynamic program. The Interior exhibits unambiguous planning and spatial clarity while the external form has a distinct sculptural quality befitting a factory which creates toys for children. Materials respond to the structural system and the climate. Ways of maximizing the use of natural ventilation and light where used whenever possible to minimize the use of energy. Materials, structural solutions, and installations were selected with the aim of achieving maximum efficiency with a minimum of maintenance. Elements such as cantilevering ‘Saw tooth’ staircase and vehicular access ramp increase the contemporary nature of Architecture of the building. The goal was to create a contemporary Sri Lankan architecture, where luxury is defined by quality of spaces rather than by expensive materials. The strong linear form of the factory contrasts with the natural environment.

By keeping the surrounding trees almost intact, nature takes precedence over the architecture, which is integrated seamlessly in to the landscape.


  • Client : Poruwadanda Factory
  • Location : Wagawaththa