Designed as an environmental and spatial refuge to unwind the client’s busy lifestyle, this small house is set among the lush greeneries abutting the Diyawannawa Lake on the one side and a picturesque marshland on the other side. The subsequent placing and planning of the house reflect our eagerness to capture the natural rhythms and flows of its urban enclave, as well as to appreciate experience and protect the variety of birds and other species that dwell in the surrounding environment. Positioned along the east-west axis of the site, the thin rectangular form of the house is both an environmental and aesthetic response to the idea of intervening sensitively to the natural habitat. Yet, the apparently simple design has been carefully resolved to accommodate a diverse range of indoor and outdoor spaces to suit the client’s basic –and at times complex - spatial requirements. A key strategy pursued in spatial planning was to increase the garden areas substantially, thus leaving the most of the natural setting un-harmed, and allowing interiors to capture un-restricted views of the greenery. The internal ground level spaces merge seemingly with the outside by extending into an open dining verandah first, and then to a timber pathway that runs towards the water body. This projected feeling of living ‘outside’ - as opposed to ‘inside’ - is further exaggerated by using natural materials and rough textures to soften the built-form edges, as well as by allowing natural light and ventilation to penetrate each and every of the interior spaces. Even the Master en-suite at upper level - with the associated timber attic to entertain kids – gets prodigious views of the natural water body and the marsh land, thereby creating a unique experience unparalleled to what one gets in a similar urban setting. While the natural setting has been the obvious inspiration for spatial design, the building also benefits from our continuous commitment to follow sustainable building practices. For example, this project can almost be considered as a ‘zero energy building’ where materials for the floor structure, timber floor paneling, doors and windows, railings, staircases, roof timber, etc. have all been recycled, having collected from junk building yards in the vicinity of the site; even most of the new materials selected for the building – such as the low-energy sun baked mud bricks used for walls – fit within this larger ESD agenda of the project. Through its simple gestures, material choices and spacious envelopes, the building also creates a user-friendly and robust architectural environment, which is receptive to different arrangements of furniture or any other spatial or functional chaos without diminishing the intended unique experience or architectural character. Virtually a good example for where and tare free usable Robust Architectural product.