Druk White Lotus School

  • Classrooms face the morning sun to make the most of natural light and heat.
  • The school is largely self-sufficient in energy.
  • Two boreholes and solar pumps supply the school site with all the water it needs.

Once complete, the Druk White Lotus School will create an educational community in a remote part of India. Conceived as a model for sustainable development in the Ladakh region, it will cater for 750 pupils from nursery age to 18 years old.

Perched in the Indian Himalayas, the school has to withstand extreme temperatures and earthquakes. Arup’s design for the school combines sustainable local materials and traditional construction techniques with leading-edge environmental design.

A team of architects and engineers from Arup and Arup Associates has worked on the project since 1997 and is responsible for the masterplan, concept, and detailed designs of each phase of construction. The first phase, the nursery and infant courtyard, opened in September 2001, to be followed by the junior school in 2005. The final phase, the senior secondary school, will be completed by 2013.

The project is the brainchild of His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa and is executed by Drukpa Trust, a UK-registered charity. To support the school, each year, Arup gives an engineer or architect from the design team unpaid leave to work on site. They act as ambassadors for the Trust and help the local construction team.

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  • Druk White Lotus School courtyard and buildings. Credit Christian Richters.

    Classrooms face the morning sun to make the most of natural light and heat.

  • Wooden canapy and walkway at Druk White Lotus School, Ladakh.

    The school has to withstand extreme temperatures and earthquakes