The Line House


The old line houses help Bawlana village generate the new history?

Toru OBA (Toru Oba Architects)

Row houses in tea plantation areas of Sri Lanka are called “line house”. The house that you are staying at now is also called line house. We have regenerated this line house to establish regional tourism of Bawlana. The 1/3 of this house had been lost before regeneration, but we regenerated it to a base of it. In the regional tourism, you can experience Bawlana’s culture and interaction with Tamil people. It aims to show the various attractive points of the village such as history, culture and nature. It is also expected to create stable job opportunities for this village people and make this village people as well as tourist reconsider about the history and culture of tea plantation.

Line houses in tea plantation areas are often regarded as “negative heritage” of the colonial period in Sri Lanka due to their various social problems. This is a fact of the tea plantation and we never deny it. However, when we turn our eyes on the historical and cultural value of line houses, we find that they have large potential to make people draw positive future vision of the village. We have already started it with this village people through the regeneration of the line house and believe that this regenerated line house will solve social problems of the area and be a place where a new history of the village will be generated.

○Line houses made from combination of 3cultures

Line houses are made from combination of 3 cultures that derive from 3 countries related to the history of tea plantation in Sri Lanka

The big feature of line house building is made from combination of 3 cultures that derive from 3 countries related to the history of tea plantation in Sri Lanka.

 1.Structure material:Steel frame


Judging from carved seal on surface of steel, frames used as structure material that they were made in Britain at the end of 19th century and brought into Bawlana village, in the mountain area of Sri Lanka .

2.Finishing material:Plaster and cowpat


Tamil’s life and culture is closely connected with Hinduism from India. They daily maintain walls painted by plaster and floors covered with cowpat  as a kind of purifying in a ceremony of Hinduism.

3.Walls:Granite quarried in Sri Lanka

04Walls with 40cm thickness made of piling up granite qurried in Sri Lanka protect indoor space from strong sunlight. The structure of line houses is hybrid of these walls and steel frames.

 4.Semi-outside space:Verand


There are semi-outdoor space called “veranda”, a vernacular architectural element in Sri Lanka, in line houses of Bawlana.(But, most of them are filled up by Tamil peopel now.)



 大庭 徹 (一級建築士事務所 大庭徹建築計画)













Stone Corridor: 石積み、アイアンフレーム、トタン屋根というこの長屋を特徴づける要素が凝縮された空間

Stone Corridor: スチールフレーム、石積み、牛糞塗りの床、という長屋の特徴的要素を再構成してつくられた空間

対象長屋 現況実測図&写真(2014年3月調査/PDF形式)