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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Druk White Lotus School in Indus Valley, India by Arup Associates

September 29th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Arup Associates

The Druk White Lotus School is located in the Indus Valley, Northern India. An environment of extremes, and lying at 3,500m above sea level, this is a high-altitude desert landscape where temperatures fall to -30 degrees Celcius in winter; for about five months of each year the region is cut off from the rest of India by snow.
The challenge was to create a centre of local culture, education and communication that integrates the region of Ladakh’s unique cultural and architectural heritage with appropriate opportunities to be found in contemporary design.

Image Courtesy © Arup Associates

  • Architects: Arup Associates
  • Project: Druk White Lotus School
  • Location: Indus Valley, India
  • Project Completion Date: 2011

Image Courtesy © Arup Associates

The project not only seeks to minimize its own environmental impact, but also aims to help the local community thrive.
The school currently caters for 488 pupils from nursery through to 14 years of age. The campus, with its educational facilities and residential courtyards, was complted up to middle school stage in September 2011.

Image Courtesy © Arup Associates

Buildings take maximum advantage of the high altitude and clear skies with active and passive solar energy collection. Classrooms face the morning sun to make the most of natural light and heat. The buildings are heated passively by the sun, either with fully glazed south-facing facades or trombe walls. Solar water heaters provide hot water for showers and clothes washing. A photovoltaic system provides reliable electrical power to the whole site using an installation of 9kWp of PV panels.
Spacious learning spaces were created using timbers from Kashmir, granite blocks found on, or adjacent to, the site to form the outer walls, and traditional Ladakhi mud roofs, which provide good protection from the cold.

Image Courtesy © Arup Associates

Two boreholes and solar pumps supply all water requirements. Human waste is treated in ventilated improved pit (VIP) dry latrines, and has been taken out of the water cycle.

The materials chosen resonate with the place, and provide surfaces to sit, climb and explore. The external landscape is articulated with low granite walls, steps and seats, planters and willow trees, creating scaled spaces for play and study. The school’s buildings are safe, sustainable and provide an extemporary learning environment to standards previously unavailable in Ladakh.

Arup Associates won an Emirates Glass Leaf Award 2012 for The Druk White Lotus School in the category Best Sustainable Development.

Image Courtesy © Arup Associates

Image Courtesy © Arup Associates

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Category: School

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