Valentine Gunasekara

Valentine Gunasekara pioneered a new form of architecture in Sri Lanka combining modern architecture with concepts of ancient Buddhist architecture, earning the title of “pioneer modernist”. His work is the subject of a new book titled Imagining Modernity : the Architecture of Valentine Gunasekara, authored by Anoma Peiris, Professor of Architecture at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Valentine graduated from the Architectural Association School of Architect in London, UK with First Class Honors in 1956. He also holds the Architectural Association Postgraduate Diploma in Tropical Architecture.

In 1965, on the basis of work submitted as Sri Lankan nominee from a field of international nominees, Valentine Gunasekara won a Rockefeller grant and spent 1967 in the United States. During this time, he worked with such internationally recognized architects as Lois Kahn, Kevin Roche and Charles Eames. Upon his return to Sri Lanka during the period 1981-1986, Valentine continued his innovative work, including the design of the Tangalle Bay Hotel which considered a masterpiece in local modern architecture. During this time, he also lectured at Moratuwa University, and has trained and tutored numerous architects who later became prominent in Sri Lanka, including Nihal Amarasinghe and Laki Senanayake.

In 1987 he migrated to the United States and accepted a position at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts as Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture until his retirement in 2003.

Valentine has won several national and international awards. A superb athlete during his heyday, he captained the Royal College Cricket team and was also a member of the Ceylon Cricket team.

Valentine Gunasekara is held in a high esteem both in the professional and academic communities for his innovative architectural work in Sri Lanka, Nigeria and the United States.