Ladakh has been in seclusion because of its topography and geographical location for the longest time but in the past 10 years, the dramatic escalation in tourism has led to a mad and uncontrolled/regulated construction spree. The construction is heavily influenced by urban construction techniques using concrete and steel which does not respond to the very distinctive climate of Ladakh- a cold desert, with temperatures ranging between -30 to +30 C. With all the material being transported from far off plains of the country leads to a huge cost wasting fuel, effort and at the same time making the built environment totally inhabitable.
Design and execution of 21 homes after the destruction of cloudburst in the Himalayan region of Ladakh. The reconstruction was also an opportunity to redefine the construction vocabulary towards a more sustainable and environmentally responsible. The design of the houses was developed to be as a model for the rural/urban Ladakhi community- using natural materials and passive heating techniques which require almost no energy and can be easily replicated without any technical assistance. The design was further refined to handle the major dangers of earthquakes and flash floods. The houses/community shelters were entirely constructed using natural materials like adobe, rammed earth, clay, stone, hay, waste wool and wood through the active community participation - hence dispersing the knowledge. There was no use of any steel or concrete (industrial products) reducing the carbon footprints.