Page B1.1 . 24 July 2002                     
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    Building a School in India

    by Don Barker

    It may overlap the highest inhabited plateau in the world, but the Indian State of Ladakh, at the foot of the Himalayas, has some projects underway that could provide the Western world with important lessons in sustainable construction.

    The area is considered to be one of the last remaining strongholds of Tibetan Buddhist culture and community values. Twenty years ago the Dalai Lama designated land here for the education of local children.

    The new Druk White Lotus School is being built to help maintain the rich cultural traditions based on Tibetan Buddhism, while equipping the children for life in the 21st century. In September 2001, teaching began in the newly completed nursery and infant classrooms.

    These buildings are the first phase of a project that will be in construction until at least 2009. The second phase of the project, currently under construction and due for completion by 2004, will include a junior school, dormitories, a dining hall, and kitchens.

    When finished, the school will accommodate 800 local children aged 3 to 18 with a health clinic, library, open-air temple, computer and science lab, vocational workshops, dining hall, and housing for both pupils and staff.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    Entrance to the Druk White Lotus School, by Arup architects and engineers, in Ladakh, India near the Himalayas. Phase one includes the Nursery and Infants courtyard, used for outdoor classes.
    Photo: Don Barker

    ArchWeek Image

    Under construction, the wooden framework of the dormitories shows a blend of East and West in materials and methods.
    Photo: Don Barker

     

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