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Journey Back to Sri Lanka From USA and Singapore

Dhananjana Amereskere (Dan), as a youth was convinced of a few things in life- as the oldest sibling of his family, that he wanted to be a good son to his parents, that design and architecture is his niche and that just as he was on the brink of leaving the shores of Sri Lanka to pursue this dream, a wrong turn at Maradana, Colombo, spared his life from becoming a casualty of the JOC Flower Road bomb in 1991. Dan’s heart was now convinced of one more thing, that our times are in the hands of a higher power. And until His purposes for our lives have been fulfilled, divine protection renders us virtually immortal.

The world of design and architecture first comes across Dan in 1993, as a blossoming architecture student at Yale University, New Haven. He spends his first few years laying the foundation for a successful career by pursuing a wide range of subjects to add to his portfolio- Sculpture, Mandarin Chinese, Art history and City planning being a few. He made a further investment by pursuing Economics as a double major which helped him understand the financial and commercial aspects of design and architecture. A bright student, Dan, went on to pursue his Masters in Architecture at the University at Pennsylvania, Philadelphia when he was only 21. With 6 Awards in 3 years including the Paul Philippe Cret Medal and Award for the highest overall academic performance and after completing his thesis under the guidance of a famed architect of the time, Dan steps out of his student years to become a fully-fledged architect in the year 2000.

Dan spends four years as a staff architect in centre city Philadelphia at MGA Partners where his obvious talent and flair for design got him working closely with the principal of the firm. On several institutional projects, he was able to bring out the importance of public space and civic responsibility in architecture, as demonstrated in the Bryn Mawr College Masterplan and the Philadelphia Center City Strategic Plan.  The Canaday Library and Dalton Hall in Bryn Mawr College brought modern extensions and renovations into traditional structures.  America on Wheels Museum in Allentown and the Children’s Museum of Delaware, had Dan explore the tactile and material qualities of the architectural space within which exhibits were designed.  Several of these projects went onto win national design awards.

Leaving the shores of America in 2004, Dan was headhunted to work at Architects61 Pte Ltd Singapore, by Penn Alumni Architect Michael Ngu.  As Associate of Architects61, Dan was responsible for leading innovative design solutions in the firm to bring in several new projects by winning local and international design competitions.  With several of these projects located in Sentosa Island Singapore, Dan has developed more multi-residential housing units in Sentosa than any local Singapore architect.  His winning 8 Tower Cape Royale Project is the culminating piece in Singapore’s exclusive waterfront enclave of Sentosa Island.  Integrating site, landscape and architecture, Sentosa Cove has evolved into one of the world’s most desirable residential addresses.

Upon returning to Sri Lanka in 2011, with knowledge, skill and experience up his sleeve, Dan took on several projects, both locally and internationally, while becoming the founder and managing director of Design One Studio. His team won a Presidential Award for refurbishing the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo that same year. With SkyLounge revolutionizing rooftops, Lotus Mall revitalizing waterfronts, the Pettah Integrated Transport Hub and Tech City bringing Sri Lanka on par with some of the most futuristic designs of the world, he showcased his prowess and expanded his horizons by designing the Twin Tower Commercial Development site in ShenZhen, China.

Fast forward a few years, Design One Studio goes on to become the Best Luxury Architect Studio of the year, reaching a pinnacle of success. Versatility has been one of their strengths right throughout, with client satisfaction being a top priority. Dan is a local talent with much to offer Sri Lanka and with Port City looking for investors, it is fitting to say that his experience in designing Sentosa Waterfront Residencies is more than just complementary. Design One Studio, over the years, has proven itself to be more than capable of going beyond expectations and under Dan’s leadership and guidance awaits a good challenge, one that a new project like Port City could offer, where Sri Lanka can be brought back to its former glory of being the Gateway to Asia.

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