From Ramshackle to Boutique Pad – MMGS Update an Apartment in the Slums of Colombo

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MMGS ARCHITECTS undertook the redesign of this narrow home in Sri Lanka. The property is sandwiched between other buildings, leading it to have a long, narrow footprint.



The house was originally part of a chaotic development scheme found near Beira Lake in Sri Lanka’s commercial capital Colombo. It had been left in a ramshackle state by the previous owners and in need of some attention.



The client contacted MMGS to see if they could turn around the run down abode. The architecture firm had a total of 484.38-square-feet (45-square-meters) to work with.


The original flat was found in utter disrepair with oozing sewers, water clogs, broken down doors and blackened walls.


Works were completed in 2017. They seen the internals of the apartment reordered so as to make better use of the space. The interior decor was updated in the process to create a much lighter, brighter home.

The architects have dubbed the newly finished property “Hope”. The new layout has seen several of the partition walls torn down to make way for a more flowing floor plan.


Deteriorating tenements in the City of Colombo such as this are marked to be bulldozed to make way for gentrification. What’s forgotten is that slums do have a beauty of its own.

A short entrance hallway is flanked by the home’s bathroom. The hall leads through to an open plan living area, which serves as a bedroom, kitchen, and dining area. The very back of the apartment features a small, private terrace.


Light tones and raw finishes are used throughout. The white walls help to keep the space bright, while the unfinished floor and ceiling help add texture to the rooms.


Photos © Ramitha Watareka

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.