The only thing that is consistent about Sri Lanka's post-tsunami architecture is that there is no consistency at all. Architectural photographer Logan MacDougall Pope went on a self-funded tour through this tiny island country, which was engulfed by the Boxing Day Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 that killed 40,000 people and displaced 2.5 million. Logan sent us these beautiful pictures and a link to his blog, which charts the often hairy journey he took earlier this year to document how Sri Lankans have re-built their lives. After recovering from a nasty case of dengue fever, the intrepid photographer from Britain managed to photograph a host of brightly-colored fishing homes, schools, and markets made of all sorts of locally-sourced materials. These images are a treat, so step on in for a fascinating look at what happened after the storm.
The first thing we noticed about Logan’s images is that they are all completely different. When trying to build homes after a disaster of such terrible scale, it’s essential to get them up as quickly and inexpensively as possible. There are some consistencies in the choice of materials, namely palm, corrugated steel, concrete, and even tarpaulin in some cases, though rarely in design. And everything is colorful – not only the architecture, but also the locals Logan met along the way.
Logan has written several stories and photographed many buildings, but his account of a village called Batticaba – known by locals as Batty – was especially bittersweet. This “hamlet” of fishing huts was built just before the tsunami struck, after which it was completely wiped out. Despite how disappointing that must have been, the villagers rebuilt their homes using metal, wood, and tarpaulin. They are covered with thick thatch. This is just a small glimpse at an unusual story of a man who normally photographs much fancier projects, but whose life, we are willing to wager, was somewhat altered after this special journey.