Training In Progress

Chinthaka Wickramage and Nileeka Senerath


The old structure had to be pulled down before students could begin training at the Kaithady Vocational Training Centre.

Kaithady Vocational Training Centre was envisaged under the German government-funded ‘Vocational Training in the North’ (VTN) project, financed through KFW German Development Cooperation Bank. The centre is located on A9 Jaffna-Kandy Highway, about 6 km south of Jaffna city centre, the capital of the Northern Province.

The original Vocational Training Centre (VTA) was housed in an old residential complex donated to them. While the main building was in an acceptable condition, some of the annexed buildings were more than a few decades old and in a dilapidated condition and earmarked for demolition. Also, former residential building room sizes and shapes were not suitable for vocational training purposes such as automotive or welding workshops. Only the two-storied main building was retained for upgradation.

The architectural objective of Chinthaka Wickramage, Nileeka Senerath, of the Chinthaka Wickramage Associates, was to build a ‘robust’ vocational training centre, which can withstand years of wear and tear, in the extreme weather conditions of Jaffna peninsula as well as to represent the function of a ‘Vocational Training Centre’.

This resulted in the use of sturdy and heavy-duty material, such as, cement bricks for walls, insulation sandwiched Zn/Al roofing panels for roof and black powder coated glazed aluminum doors and windows for door windows, which contributed to the monochrome, textured, industrial aesthetic of the finished training centre.

The layout takes on a ‘U’ shape, with the two new buildings being connected by the existing double story main building, thus creating an open-ended courtyard facing the lagoon. This courtyard was paved with interlocking cement paving blocks, creating a ‘place for interaction’ for students and enhancing the monochrome, textured, tactile quality of the space. It also retains two old Margosa trees and a ground well.

A tiered/stepped concrete open to sky pavilion, for students morning assembly, overlooking this paved courtyard was created. Insulation sandwiched Zn/Al roof panels were selected to replace the clay tiled roof in the existing two-storied building on a steel structural skeletal framework, replacing the decaying timber roof structure. Black powder coated glazed aluminium door windows were selected to replace the existing decaying timber door windows in the main two storied building.