‘Altitude’_ an architectural wonder designed as an emblem of triumph, redefining the skyline of Sri Lanka by ARK Reza Kabul Architects

1rkaAltitude – Colombo, Sri Lanka
Project credits:
Project Name: Altitude
Architects: ARK Reza Kabul Architects Pvt. Ltd.
Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Project Duration: Proposed to be completed in 48 months
Height: 383 meters 2000

Architecture is a visual art where buildings express themselves through their own language of creativity. As an engineering student, Architect Reza Kabul (ARK) developed a keen interest for architecture as he went through the pages of various design journals. The colorful representations and the idea of creating something novel out of nothing were the prime factors that enthralled ARK the most. Such was his passion for design that eventually led him to becoming one of the foremost inspirational figures in the realm of Indian architecture. With a vision to execute path breaking projects solely centered on the design philosophy of liberating spaces, ARK laid down the foundation for ARK – Reza Kabul Architects Pvt. Ltd., in India in the year 1988. The studio is truly versatile with a wide palette of projects ranging from master plans and townships, to industrial, hospitality, commercial, institutional, educational, and residential segments. Accompanied by a well-resourced design team, ARK has successfully executed a diverse range of projects spread globally in United States, India, Mauritius, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Bhutan, Korea and Nairobi.

Being one of the pioneers of high rise design in India, ‘Altitude’ is one of ARK’s signature upcoming projects. The brief drawn out by the client for Altitude was to design a structure that would not only commemorate the Sri Lankan 1996 Cricket World Cup winners but would also stand as an epitome of victory and the true sense of pride for Sri Lanka.

The land on which the project had to be developed was a gift from the Government of Sri Lanka to the cricketers.

The design proposal put forth is to privatize the space and yet keep it open to the public. The aim is to transform the structure into a ceaseless landmark of Sri Lanka.


As shown above are the initial sketches that were developed so as to generate a definite form for the structure.

The concept revolves around the sport and the triumph that followed. The clients were taken by amazement when they were initially approached with the rough conceptual representations of the structure. The team was later asked to detail and build up the concept. The client wanted the structure to be designed in a way such that it would clearly reflect the various elements that well define the spirit of cricket. The bat, the ball and the trophy have been taken as the key guidelines. The structure resembles a cricket ball held together at the crown with four cricket bats, thus taking shape of a trophy.

3rkaAltitude – Colombo, Sri Lanka

Complementing its name, Altitude is a high rise structure with varied spaces and multiple users. It consists of signature residential spaces along with retail and commercial spaces, an indoor cricket facility, a hall of  fame and museum honouring the cricketers, an observatory and lastly a lavishly designed two-level speciality restaurant.

4rkaIconic tower mixed-use zones 

Even though Altitude appears to be a structure that is strongly dictated by its form, the function being of utmost importance has been well integrated into the design.

Due to the extreme weather conditions, the basement houses a covered parking area along with a lift lobby that connects the basement with the commercial floors, the theatre and the restaurant as well.

The lower ground level too has been designed as a covered parking area with a vehicular drop off point on the South side of the tower. It also includes the ticket counter for the 360° observatory and the Sri Lankan cricket legends museum.

At a height of 350m, the observatory at Altitude has been ranked at #29 by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) in their list of World’s Highest Observation Decks (October 2015).

The entrance lobby on the east side leads to the restaurant and the theatre. From here, you have escalators that take you down to the ticket counter for the 360° observatory.

5rkaview from 360 observatory

So as to segregate the private and public spaces, a 10m wide vehicular ramp and stairway has been designed on the North side that takes one to the 4.5 m level. In this way a separate entry has been provided for the residents. The lobby leading to the residential unit of the building is well equipped with 4 passenger elevators and 2 elevators that can be served for domestic help eventually leading to the main residential lobby.

A series of well designated parking areas, elevators, escalators, lobbies and independent services ensure a minimal overlap between the different types of users.

The team focuses on functionality as the base for its design philosophy. In addition to its form, the structure has been designed to be iconic in its self-sustainability in terms of its basic energy requirements. The design has been analysed with regards to various aspects such as sun, wind and shadow. In order to make the structure self-sustainable, the local climatic conditions have been taken into consideration.

6rkaSolar Path Diagram
7rkaWind Rose Diagram

As a result of this, wind turbines have been incorporated above the sky deck level where the structure forms into handles thereby acting as wind catchers. The glass dome designed above the indoor cricket academy has photo-voltaic cells that generate electricity.

8rkaGlass dome designed above indoor cricket academy

The use of a multi-storey parking façade and natural atmospheric pressure has been proposed so as to lower the temperature of the water for the air-conditioning plant instead of using large fans.
Retail outlets have been spread over an area of 3783 square meter starting from level 1 and all the way up to level 3. The accurately positioned elevators and escalators provide smooth circulation within the entire retail area. One can exit the 360 degree Observatory from level 3.

9rkatraffic management diagram

The above diagrammatic illustration states that there are 32 shafts which host 50 elevators connecting different levels for different users.

Following level 3 is level 4 with a 6 screen multiplex, holding a seating capacity of 1420 people. In order to divert the crowd systematically towards the respective exits during the night show, separate elevators have been provided for the same. Level 5A and 5B have been allotted purely as commercial spaces solely for office use having four offices of 770 square meters each. Level 6 holds the covered parking area for the residents along with a vehicular drop off point. This level hosts the residential lobby consisting of 14 passenger elevators and 4 service elevators. The resident’s parking further extends between level 7 till level 12. Level 13, 20, 35, 50, 65, 78, 91 are designed as service floors with meter rooms, break-pressure tanks, and pumps.

Level 14 holds an entertainment deck that is well equipped with an updated library, an area allotted for indoor games as well as an outdoor play area, a swimming pool, a business centre and a jogging track.

10rkaAerial view of entertainment deck

Level 15 to level 49 comprise of 8 residential apartments per floor either 3BHK or 4BHK. Level 51 to level 64 further have 8 residential apartments per floor of 4BHK each. An additional entertainment deck with a lounge, coffee shop, gymnasium, spa and out-door yoga area has been provided at level 66. The deck is further complemented with a few additional sky decks which infuses a sense of liveliness to the space. Level 67 to Level 90 host 4 residential penthouse apartments of 4 BHK. The 360 degree Observatory open to all non-residents is to be accessed from level 92.

The Sri Lankan Cricket Legends Museum is located at level 93. The revolving restaurant at level 94 and level 95 offers its guests with a panoramic view of the city of Colombo. Lastly, the Indoor Cricket Training Academy is located at level 96.

‘Altitude’ aims at garnering significant attention in terms of form as well as function. In the true sense of pride, the structure celebrates victory through the language of design as it creates an enduring chapter in the history of Sri Lanka.

11rkaView of Altitude
Ar-Reza-KabulArchitect Reza Kabul

– Rhea Fernandes ,Volume Zero.

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