COLOMBO | Thursday September 19, 2019 | NewsLanka | by Claude Gunasekera | Much awaited opening of the Nelum Kuluna or Lotus Tower, the ‘tallest self-supported structure in South Asia’ located in the heart of Colombo city, Sri Lanka was declared opened to the public on September 16, seven years after the project commenced by Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya adding another icon to the island nation of Sri Lanka. Dominating the ever-changing skyline of Colombo, the tower is 1168 feet tall or standing at 356 meters, 24 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris and it is the world’s 19th tallest tower.The Lotus Tower consist 13 floors; 6 in base and 7 in the flower with 8 elevators and covers 30,600 m2 (329,000 sq ft) of floor area.
Although the tower is not fully completed at the time of inauguration, 95% of construction has been completed. The design of this building is inspired by the Lotus flower. The lotus symbolizes purity within Sri Lankan culture and is also said to symbolize the country’s flourishing development. The tower base is inspired by the lotus throne and will also be formed by two inverted trapezoidal. The tower’s color is pink and green – an effect achieved by coating the glass.
It will be used for communications, leisure and observation purposes. The tower will offer facilities to enhance the digital infrastructure of Sri Lanka and is also set to become a major tourist attraction. The first and second floors of the tower will be used for TV and radio broadcasting, housing up to 50 radio broadcasters, 20 telecommunication service providers and 50 television broadcasters. The Lotus Tower will also offer two banquet and conference halls each accommodating nearly 450 guests. In addition, there will be several VIP rooms as well as a special area to view Colombo city and the pending Colombo Port City project. The major draw of the tower is the revolving restaurant on the top floor which offers panoramic views of the city below and completes a circuit every 90 minutes. Two floors appear to have been allocated for shopping malls, but shopping spaces are yet to be tendered. Similarly, marketing materials are not yet available for the large conference and banquet facilities.
Construction of the Lotus Tower commenced in 2012. After an initial decision to construct the tower within the confines of a suburb of the country’s economic capital city of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s government announced their plans to shift the location to the heart of the city. The project commenced during the tenure of former President Mahinda Rajapakse and the construction began on 20 January 2012 following a foundation stone-laying ceremony. In December 2014, the tower’s construction crossed the 125 m (410 ft) milestone and as of July 2015, the tower had reached 255 m (837 ft).The site is located on the waterfront of Beira Lake and alongside a part of the D. R. Wijewardene Mawatha Colombo 10.
The tower has four entrances, with two being used as VIP (distinguished guests and state leaders) entrances. A telecommunications museum and restaurant are located on the ground floor. The tower podium consists of 6 floors. The first floor of the podium will accommodate a museum and two exhibition halls. The second floor will be utilized for several conference halls with seating space in excess of 500 people. Restaurants, supermarkets, and food courts will be situated on the third floor. A 1000-seat auditorium will be located on the fourth floor, which will also be used as a ballroom. The fifth floor will include luxury hotel rooms, large ballrooms, and the seventh floor will host an observation gallery. The landscaping is planned in the form of a large water park.
The Colombo Monorail, which was a proposed monorail system in Colombo, and the BRT system were to conver at a common ‘multi-modal hub’ located in close proximity to the Lotus Tower, making the tower a major city center. The Monorail was canceled in 2016, and instead, a light rail will be constructed in Colombo.