Interaction has been ongoing between Arup Associates and the Druk White Lotus School. Members of the team have taken time away from their desks to make the annual trip to continue the exchange of building design and education at the school’s site in Leh Valley in Ladakh.

This year the team have been working to install a solar cooker system. The system relies on four parabolic reflectors, that each focussed the light and heat of the sun upon a vessel. The liquid in the vessels is transferred via pipes into cooking pots inside the kitchen, where rice, dahl and vegetables are boiled to feed the 400 residential students. The reliability of sunshine in the high altitude dessert of Ladakh, makes this technology ideally suited to this location. The installation brings the school close to being carbon neutral and less reliant on fossil fuels.

This new solar cooker system is one of a number of the school’s existing sustainable features. The design uses active and passive solar energy collection, taking maximum advantage of the high altitude and clear skies. Classrooms are ventilated via the opening of windows and flaps within the residential trombe walls. Two boreholes and solar pumps supply all water requirements while solar water heaters and a photo-voltaic system provide reliable hot water and electrical power to the whole site.


The Druk White Lotus School is a model of sustainability: not only in the obvious sense, but more importantly, in the sense that traditional cultural values, spirituality and materials are maintained. The school is an exemplar of the union of contemporary architectural design and engineering and traditional building techniques. Locally excavated stone, mud bricks, timber and grass have been used. The school’s buildings are safe, sustainable, provide a pleasant learning environment to standards previously unavailable in Ladakh, and respond to the specific cultural needs of local people.

To donate or find out more information, please contact The Drukpa Trust, all donations will be gratefully received in helping to create educational opportunities for girls and boys in Ladakh.

Druk White Lotus School Case Study
More about the local stone used

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2013 Winner of the prestigious International Architecture in Stone Award, XIII edition
2009 BCSE Industry Awards, Winner of the Inspiring Design Award, International category
2009 Design for Asia Award, Grand Award
2009 World Architecture News, Shortlisted, Education Category
2005 Sinclair Knight Merz Award for Achievement in development
2003 BCCB Award for International Expertise
2002 World Architecture Awards: Best Green Building; Best Education Building; Best Asian Building