When Kathrin Messner and Josef Ortner (who passed away on 30 March 2009) visited Sri Lanka in 1983, they were in search of a second location where they could gain new experiences, in addition to those that their life in Vienna and their work with contemporary art (museum in progress) already provided them. By chance, they found a plot of land and built a house – an inspiring meeting place for artists and friends. Over the years, the Ayurveda Guesthouse & Resort Bogenvillya, the Art & Literature Programme, and the Free Education School – the core of the one world foundation – arose from this basic idea.
PHILOSOPHY & ORGANISATION
The one world foundation is based on three pillars: the educational project the Free Education School, the Ayurveda Guesthouse & Resort Bogenvillya and the Art & Literature Programme. The foundation supports targeted educational projects in Sri Lanka. The project most dear to founder Kathrin Messner is the Free Education School for more than 1,100 children, young people and adults in Ahungalla, which is financed mainly by the income generated by the Ayurveda Guesthouse & Resort Bogenvillya.
The one world foundation supports a form of tourism based on mutual understanding and fair exchange. It sees itself as a communication centre which promotes dialogue between guests and locals. Through joint celebrations and the close cooperation between the guest house and the school, a sense of belonging is developed, which transcends ethnic and religious boundaries.
The one world foundation also creates space for dialogue and inspirational encounters. Within the Art & Literature Programme (“Art & Residencies”), a place for study is available to artists and writers at the Ayurveda Guesthouse & Resort Bogenvillya.
The founders of the one world foundation, Kathrin Messner and Josef Ortner (who passed away on 30 March 2009), were inspired by the so-called “social sculpture” of the artist Joseph Beuys. He advocated an extended concept of art, which, in addition to materially tangible work, also encompasses human, society-altering action.
The House Above Trees has been opened!
The positive energy that emanates from the one world foundation on Sri Lanka’s west coast captured TV producer and art critic Traudi Messini’s imagination to such an extent during an – thanks to the Covid pandemic – exceptionally extended visit for an Ayurveda cure, that it made her want to set up a home there.
Luckily, even in difficult times, supporters can be found who hold the one world foundation aid project in such high esteem that they are prepared to make exceptional contributions to ensure its continuation. This special form of tourism based on mutual understanding and a fair exchange combines the Ayurveda guest house and resort Bogenvillya, the one world college – an educational project for over 1,100 children and young people with a particular focus on the education of women – and the art & literature programme “Artist/Writer in Residence”.
The House Above Trees was created between 2020 and 2022, taking its inspiration from the style of building for Buddhist temple architecture typical for Sri Lanka in the late Middle Ages known as “Tampitaviharas”. “Tampita” means “raised on pillars”. The architect Carl Pruscha is a master of contemporary vernacular architecture and has translated the traditional construction methods into a contemporary language. Having already designed the Lagoon Bungalow, the college campus and the Palm Grove Bungalow on pilotis for the one world foundation in the course of the last twenty years, he also took on the planning of this pile dwelling on the Indian Ocean together with Valerie Messini. This time, however, the piles were increased in height to reach the crown of the palm trees: the actual body of the building is located 6 metres above the ground, soaring above the mangroves.
All of the manual labour was taken on by local experts, by master builder T. Sanath de Silva and his tried-and-tested team. Now this lofty construction sits among the palm trees on six delicate steel supports and a central exposed concrete pillar which hold up the actual residential unit in the shape of a wooden box. Like the other bungalows and the school, the walls are of delicate, permeable, lightweight construction, contrasting with the solid walls of colonial architecture. All of the external walls that face towards the ocean are divided up by geometric patterns, specifically triangles that combine to make squares in blue, red and white, the colours taken from Le Corbusier’s colour palette in homage to classical modernism. A tin roof made up of two overlapping panels that appears to be floating in mid-air completes the building.
The building’s stability is enhanced not only by the central reinforced concrete pillar but also by the bracing external staircase and the partially projecting arrangement of the pillars. Making the load-bearing construction components precisely the right size, thereby adding to the exceptional lightness of the house, was achieved thanks to the refined structural engineering skills of Martin Haferl, supported by Ronald Jaklitsch, who worked out the complex and aesthetic key details.
Crossing a gently ascending lawned ramp underneath the building, you climb the already mentioned external staircase to the generous terrace with an unobstructed view over the ocean. Entry to the spacious 40m2 bungalow, made from indigenous teak that exudes a warmth which contrasts with the building’s steel and concrete elements, is via sliding glass doors. Continuous ventilation of the room is ensured by means of the cross ventilation system familiar in tropical architecture, in this case effected by revolving elements made from horizontal wooden slats in the upper section of the walls. The bungalow is divided into two distinct areas: the protected sleeping area facing towards the peaceful palm grove and – separated from this by the centrally located bathroom – the light and airy living area, which flows seamlessly into the terrace. A green belt of mangrove trees at the foot of the House Above Trees leads directly to the Indian Ocean.
Architecture: Carl Pruscha, Valerie Messini
Studio Pruscha: Andreas Pfusterer, Leonardo Haglmüller
Engineering: Martin Haferl, Ronald Jaklitsch
Builder: T. Sanath de Silva
Funding: Traudi Messini
Developer: Kathrin Messner, one world foundation
Photos: Sasindu Pramuditha
Further Information: Xiane Kangela, +43 699 19520207
Archive of Current News
Food parcels 2022
As in the last two years, the one world foundation started a relief campaign for the poorest in the region at the beginning of April. Around three hundred and eighty families in particular need of help received immediate support from the one world foundation in the form of parcels containing rice, dhal, flour, onions, garlic, sugar, salt, curry, chilly powder, sardines, soya meat, noodles, soap, washing powder and more.
The improved pandemic situation also allows for more community activities in the one world foundation. For example, the Farewell Ceremony of the Preschool, the distribution of mid-term reports, Independence Day and the Buddhist New Year could be celebrated.
Greetings from the one world foundation school
Two students, representing the whole school, thank our supporters for the education they receive at the one world foundation. With the help of our supporters, the one world foundation creates perspectives for more than one thousand young people per year. The short video was made by our volunteer Emelie Amann.
Student Newsletter on the activities of the School 2021
The school of the one world foundation also realised a rich programme last year despite the pandemic. During the multiple school closures, teaching continued via WhatsApp. In fact, the interest in education is unbroken and the number of students has even increased. Under the following link you will find a student newsletter that presents some school activities in 2021:
Year-end celebration of the one world foundation school
On 13 December 2019 the year-end celebration of one world foundation was held with the distribution of certificates, music, dance and theatre performances, exhibitions and more.
My impressions as a volunteer at the one world foundation school in Ahungalla, Sri Lanka
It was love at first sight when I visited Sri Lanka four years ago – I was instantly attracted to the warm and friendly people, to the nature surrounded by mysterious sounds that we are not familiar within Europe, and to the delicious food. My dream was to explore more of this country and culture through the local people’s way of living.
I learned about the one world foundation school during an extensive Ayurveda retreat at the owf Ayurveda Guesthouse & Resort Bogenvillya, leaving me impressed by its philosophy and the eagerness and motivation of the students and teachers. A sabbatical led me to apply as volunteer to teach English to the pupils that attend the school programme. I got accepted.
I am now four weeks into teaching – a completely new experience for me, quite different from my daily job back home. I find it very fulfilling and rewarding to volunteer, to assist the teachers and to work closely with students of all ages in order to help them exploring their potential and to offer them some prospects for the future. Under the roof of the owf all people are treated as equal and with the same respect, regardless of their religious background or their families’ wealth.
Especially in these devastating and difficult times after the recent events it seems important to promote a sense of togetherness and to teach the next generation how we can live in peace together in this one world.
It didn’t take long to become attached to the school and its wonderful young students, that warmly welcomed me with curiosity and thirst to learn. It was one of my best decisions in a long time to support these people in their personal and professional development!
(Désirée Kern, 22 April 2019)
Year-end celebration of one world foundation
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On 14 December the year-end celebration of one world foundation was held with the distribution of certificates, music, dance and theatre performances, exhibitions and more.
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The traditional Perahera parade of our montessori classes at the end of term in summer 2018.
03.08.2018: Photography exhibition “Our Vision”
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The exhibition “Our Vision” was opened on 3.8.2018.
Under the direction of Sasindu Pramuditha. Students: K. A. Eranda Chandeepa, U. J. Nishan Sampath, Isuru Rangana, J. K. Thisaru Madusanka, G. Ushan Randika, S. W. Sulochana Kavindi, W. T. Buddhi Maleesha Sewwandi, H. Rachitha Subhashini and L. Sajini Hansika.
Tax deductible donations
one world foundation is very pleased that all donations from from Austria, Germany and Switzerland are now tax deductible. Become a member of our supporter’s circle! Fore more information see: owf.at/free-education-school
17.10.2016: Sports day and certificate ceremony
11.08.2016: Perahera Festival and distribution of certificates
As every year, in early August before the holidays when the school year comes to an end, the traditional Perahera parade of the Montessori classes through Ahungalla took place and the certificates were distributed in the one world foundation.
- 03.05.2016: Artist in Residence Exhibition
13.04.2016: Happy New Year!
On the last school day before the Singhalese and Tamil New Year (13/14 April) one world foundation celebrated with the children, their families and the teachers!
28.03.2016: Radio broadcast on the one world foundation
Radio Oberösterreich broadcasted a one hour programme about one world foundation on 27 March 2016. Read and listen here!
11.03.2016: Interview with Kathrin Messner
On 11 March 2016 an interview with Kathrin Messner, the founder of one world foundation and museum in progress was published on the art platform Arterritory, read here.
16.09.2015: Book presentation at Unger & Klein
Thursday, 24 September at 6 pm the book „one world foundation – A Social Sculpture“ will be presented at the wine bar Unger & Klein (Gölsdorfgasse 2, 1010 Vienna). The evening will include a reading by Robert Menasse and Doron Rabinovici. We are looking forward to your visit!
05.09.2015: The book has arrived!
Our book is now available, we finished it just in time for the 20th anniversary of one world foundation. We are very happy about the result and we would like to express our deepest gratitude to all donors, authors, photographers and other supporters, who made this book possible! You’ll find more information about the book here.
All the money earned through this book will go to the Free Education Unit.
01.09.2015: Celebrating the 20 year jubilee of owf
12.08.2015: Perahera Festival
27.06.2015: Newspaper report in “The Financial Times”
On 27 June 2015 an article about Kathrin Messner, the founder of one world foundation and museum in progress was published in „The Financial Times“, read here.
- 06.04.2015: 20 years of “owf” – our book project
28.03.2015: Photography exhibition – “The Journey”
18.12.2014: School celebration
04.12.2014: Sports Day
27.08.2014: Perahera Festival
09.08.2014: Exhibition of the photography class
20.03.2014: Short documentation about the one world foundation
19.03.2014: Exhibition of photography class
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- Out of Garbage – Waste to Dress
- House Above Trees
- Newsletter April
- Newsletter December
- Newsletter September
- We welcome you again
- Reminder: Online Benefiz Auktion im Dorotheum
- Benefit Auction at Dorotheum
- Leporello Photo Book
- In light of the current situation
- Year end of 2019
- Charity Voting & Okto film portrait
- Offer 1 August – 31 October 2019
- Invitation Bags for Future, 10.7. in Zürich
- cookbok presentation
- In light of recent events
- Newsletter 17 December 2018
- Newsletter 17 August 2018
- Newsletter 6 June 2018
- Newsletter 15 March 2018
- Newsletter 31 October 2017
- Newsletter 14 July 2017
- Newsletter 23 January 2017
- Newsletter 17. October 2016
- Newsletter 16. August 2016
- Newsletter 10. June 2016
- Newsletter 18. April 2016
- Newsletter 17. September 2015
- Newsletter 14. August 2015
- Newsletter 8. April 2015
- Newsletter 24. March 2015
- Newsletter 20. January 2015
- Newsletter 4. September 2014
- Newsletter 27. August 2014
- Newsletter 28. March 2014
- Newsletter 6. February 2014
OUR BOOK WAS RECOGNISED WITH THE GOLDEN PIXEL AWARD ON 19.11.2015!
One world foundation - A Social Sculpture
180 pages, 57 colour illustrations, German / English, format: 21 x 27 cm, ISBN 978-3-200-04240-7 Price: € 28.- (+ shipping costs) 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the book benefit the Free Education School. This book of text and pictures presents selected articles about the one world foundation, written by: Dimitré Dinev, Maja Haderlap, Robert Menasse, Carl Pruscha, Doron Rabinovici, Brita Steinwendtner, Ilija Trojanov, David Schalko, among many others.
On 27 August 2015, the 20th anniversary of the one world foundation, the book was presented at a major anniversary celebration in Sri Lanka. The celebration in the Free Education School offered an impressive programme with exhibitions, dance, music performances, speeches, and a fashion show, among many other activities, all made possible thanks to the enormous dedication of students, parents and teachers.
Content / Articles
You can order the book online:
27.03.2016: Stiftung machte Schule in Sri Lanka möglich, Radio Oberösterreich/ORF
11.03.2016: A Social Sculpture, Arterritory
27.06.2015: Kathrin Messner: one world foundation, The Financial Times
18.04.2012: Paradiesische Residenz, Der Standard
23.12.2006: Urlaub für die Schule, Der Standard
LINKS & DOWNLOADS
- Aytour, Starnberg, travel agency, Ayurveda specialist
- Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, responsible for the Artist in Residence Programme
- Lotus Travel, Munich, travel agency and Asia & Ayurveda specialist
- Prof. Dominik Rossmann, Fachhochschule München, professional tourism
- Robert Menasse, Vienna, author, responsible for the Writer in Residence Programme
- Foundation pro juventute
- Studiosus, tour operators
- Information Service Third World Tourism
- Contact for Environment and Development, Stuttgart
- Localternative Sri Lanka, travel guide for responsible Sri Lanka travelers
- Ministry of Indigenous Medicine – Sri Lanka, Department for Ayurveda
- Nature Volunteers, nature conservation organisation – volunteers for Sri Lanka
- Austrian Development Agency
- respect, Institute for Integrative Tourism and Development
- Sail Lanka Charter
- Solar School, a school project in Ladakh
- Pushpa Amaratunga, member of the owf Board of Directors, Colombo
- Thenuwara Chandraguptha, artist, Colombo
- Navin Dissanayake, Colombo, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sabine Dreher, entrepreneur, Vienna
- Susanne and Marcus Geiger, artist, Vienna
- Elena Givone, photographer, Magic Lamp project in the owf
- Barbara Higgs, Head of Fundraising & Development, Schauspielhaus Zürich
- Dr. Dietmar Kinzel, attorney, Vienna
- Prof. Dr. Fritz Krinzinger, Institute for Classical Archeology, University of Vienna
- Dr. Paul J. Leyen, specialist physician, Vienna, former medical unit of the owf
- Elisabeth Menasse, historian and museum director, Vienna
- Günter Mik, teacher, director of the photography class at owf
- museum in progress, Vienna
- Prof. Dr. Carl Pruscha, architect
- Doron Rabinovici, author, Vienna
- Peter Sandbichler, artist, Vienna
- Bernd Schlacher, restaurateur, Vienna
- Eva Schlegel, artist, Vienna
- Tilak Seethawaka
- Varuna de Silva, architect, Colombo, email@example.com
- Laurent Ziegler, dancer and photographer, photo documentation on owf
- Thomas Wirthensohn, filmmaker and photographer, New York, creator of film and photos on the owf
The one world foundation is not responsible for the content of the websites listed here.