Arup Associates making progress on new library & courtyard for Druk White Lotus School
The library and courtyard will complete phase IV of the Druk White Lotus School Campus, it is in construction and due for completion in autumn 2013.
The brief called for a landmark structure that could become the future symbol or image of the institution, located in the central square of the nine-square mandala in accordance with the master plan. The requirements were to provide the school with modern library facilities and an assembly courtyard, sheltered from prevailing winds and resulting dust, suitable for student assemblies, cultural and theatrical performances, and as a local cinema.
The library was designed at first floor level to reflect traditional Ladakhi gallery forms found in monasteries and elsewhere. It embodies sustainable thinking through its design, relying on passive solar gain for heating purposes and solar panels for computers and lighting. The timber framing construction system gives earthquake resistance by allowing the roof and walls to move independently.
The central courtyard and balcony form an external theatre for school assemblies, teachings, open days and performances. Three rooms facing the courtyard provide tutorial and a group working areas. A willow lath pergola and photovoltaic panels shade the balcony.
The library will form a vital part of the student’s learning facilities, providing traditional storage of books, plus multi-media facilities and private study areas. It will promote scholarship of both international and local art, science, language and religion and will allow study material to be shared between the school and its sister schools abroad.
The central courtyard creates a social and communal space that will contribute a focus for many aspects of school life and the local community. The extensive walls provide gallery space for the student’s artwork. The stage and steps enable students to give cultural and theatrical performances to parents and guests. Importantly, the courtyard is large enough for the whole school of 500 students to be addressed together and will help to encourage a sense of identity and membership to the larger family.