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Druk White Lotus School: Ladakh, India
2008 - 2012

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The Druk White Lotus School is a primary and secondary school under the patronage of the Dalai Lama, and founded in 1992. It sits high in the Indian Himalaya among one of the last remaining mountain societies where a traditional Tibetan Buddhist way of life still thrives. The school was started at the request of the Ladakhi people who wanted a school that would help maintain their rich cultural traditions, based on Tibetan Buddhism, while equipping their children for life in the 21st Century. Designed by Arup Associates, the school serves children from ages 3 to 14 and continues to be expanded each summer during Ladakh’s short construction season. This beautiful school, which has won several international design awards combines traditional Ladakhi architecture with a focus on sustainability—incorporating ventilated trombe walls, solar driven latrines, as well as unique thermal insulation and energy harvesting solutions on a remote and challenging site.

Last summer, students spent five weeks in the region collaborating with ARUP in the first phase of charrettes toward improving and preserving the life of the Ladakhi community at Druk White. Research intimately tied to local site and skill, including the investigatory building of a traditional yak-hair tent, led to construction of much-needed additions such as tensile shade canopies, a willow pergola, a rammed-earth greenhouse learning center, and an instructive irrigation-demonstration water fountain.

A PBS video about Arup's previous collaboration with the school can be found here.

To download more information about the program, including plans and more photos, click here.

To keep up with what the students are up to, please visit their blog.

2010 Project

2009 Project