Smarter. Faster. Taller. Fairer. Most siblings have been subjected to such comparisons and the Bawa brothers were no exceptions. Geoffrey, the fair and blue eyed boy bore little similarity to Bevis, his distinctly taller and dark skinned brother. With an age gap of ten years and time spent apart while studying, Bevis recalled their relationship as one of strangers.
The Bawa Brothers : Geoffrey (left) and Bevis
In 1929, Bevis moved into the Brief Estate, to oversee the development of their new bungalow. As the estate became famous for its garden, Bevis was able to persuade Geoffrey to buy another property and 1948 marked the beginning of Geoffrey’s journey on the Lunuganga Estate.
Just like the siblings, the gardens also share many innate similarities, like branches of the same tree. Both the gardens are envisioned as reclusive spaces, set amidst the fields, away from the noise and bustle of the roads. They guard the privacy of their owners, yet allow those who would match and enhance the spirit of the spaces. Meant as spaces for contemplation, the gardens are conceived as journeys – a series of spaces, one after the other, each creating a new experience and vistas for the user.
The way each of them have gone about developing the garden is true to their being. The Brief resonates Bevis’ strong hold on the landscape, while the Lunuganga exhibits Geoffrey’s foothold on the built.
The Brief Estate : Where the landscape takes center stage.
The Brief estate heroes the garden, the built work taking backstage. The estate heroes the garden as the space to be, with the house as just satiating necessity. Each pocket of the garden acts like a ‘room’ in the house, compelling one to spend time outdoors. The house is merely meant as a space to look from and admire the enveloping gardens to the sides.
The Brief Estate : The house as a place to look from.
The Lunuganga, on the other hand uses the many small structures to add to the theatrics of the various pockets in the garden. Both the house and garden are looked at sculpturally and both of their aesthetics meant to uplift the other. The garden becomes a space to look at and to look from. The estate has many pause points (inside and outside), to sit, contemplate and engage thoughts, alone or with company.
The Lunuganga Estate : the aesthetics extends into the home. A space to live and thrive.
The Lunuganga estate : Where the garden and built conspire to create contemplative spaces.
Looking back, the brotherhood of the gardens have left us with are their portrayal of simpler times – when two men spent their lives developing gardens as a place to live, think and be.