Druk White Lotus School
Arup Associates 
Druk White Lotus School

Druk White Lotus School

Arup Associates 

In the ancient kingdom of Ladakh, in the northwestern part of the country, the town of Shey spreads out at an altitude of 3,500 meters and is home to one of few communities that still go by traditional Buddhist beliefs. Through Drukpa, a British foundation, the idea of building a modern learning center for children of very remote village was materialized in this school complex for 850 pupils between the ages of four and eighteen.

Ladakh’s complex geographical and cultural situation is reflected in the design, simple but addressing the educational needs of children who, for one, have to learn as many as four languages and alphabets (Tibetan, Hindi, Urdu, and English), in a program following the Montessori method for the early years. There is a main zone for classrooms and flexible multipurpose spaces. Dormitories were added to ensure school attendance, laid out perpendicularly to a pedestrian path that connects them to the central facilities.

Intentions to minimize impact on the environment led to the use of local materials: blocks of granite from a nearby quarry for the outer walls, adobe bricks prepared close to the site, wood from poplar and willow trees for the joists and roof frame, respectively. The beams and pillars of firwood along with the glass elements came from neighboring Kashmir. Elements of local building techniques were resorted to

as well, such as the wooden eaves in the roof, earth-clad for better thermal performance.Wood is also used in the interior, both for floors and the frames of the large windows that bring light into the classrooms. Among the strategies applied to capitalize on passive solar gain are the building’s radiation-maximizing orientation, the functioning of the south facades as Trombe walls, and the use of solar thermal panels for heating and hot water. Water is saved through dry latrines with forced ventilation (by solar chimneys). Because the place is at such a high altitude and the skies are so bright, photovoltaic panels generate all the electricity the school needs.

Obra Work

Escuela Druk del Loto Blanco Druk White Lotus School in Shey, Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir).

Cliente Client

Drukpa Trust.

Arquitectos Architects

Arup / Arup Associates.

Colaboradores Collaborators

S. Macintosh, R. Reinardy, C. Sohie, J. Rose, I. Hazard, J. Fleming, M. Minami, M. Self, D. Rooney, O. Diallo, R. McGowan, F. Galeazzi, D. Richter, M. Monczakowski, I. Grace, L. Dep, J. Siddhu, N. Marlow, V. Coy. Arup Associates (dibujos e infografía drawings and visualizations)

Fotos Photos

Christian Richters.