The main road into Ladakh goes over the famous Zoji La pass. Any Greenwich staff and students who plan to reach Ladakh by road, to work on the Druk White Lotus School DWLS, are likely to come this way.
n 2012, Simon became the first landscape architecture student from the University of Greenwich to work on the Druk White Lotus School. He arrived in July 2012 for a 3-month visit. The intention is to send two landscape architecture students per year for the next 3 years to work on developing gardens and a landscape setting for the school. Simon was a student on the Greenwich MA Landscape Architecture when he volunteered to work in Ladakh. The architectural design for DWLS is based on a mandala.
Staff and students from the University of Greenwich Landscape Architecture programmes are helping to make a garden for the Druk (Dragon) White Lotus School in Ladakh, India. The design of the Druk White Lotus School, by Arup Associates, is based on a Tibetan mandala. ‘Mandala’ is a Sanskrit word. It was used for the sections of the Rig Veda and became associated with a visual symbol, based on a circle and square, used for the layout of temples and the design of stupas and many other sacred objects. DWLS was severely damaged by a mudslide in 2010. The site is in a cold desert and there is a great need for a garden and landscape environment. Our hope is to pioneer an approach to cold desert landscape design which will have a wider relevance in the Himalayan region. Global warming is causing the glaciers to retreat and putting the whole area at risk. A University of Greenwich landscape architecture student began work on DWLS in 2012
As part of a landscaping programme, students have started creating miniature gardens in front of their classrooms. A volunteer landscape architect, Yiannis, is currently working at the school and collaborating with landscape architects from the University of Greenwich (UK) on a landscape design for the whole campus.
His Eminence Kyabje Thuksey Rinpoche visited Ladakh between 14th and 18th April 2012. He visited Druk White Lotus School to give encouragement and provide advice as well as visiting Hemis Monastery to oversee the preparation works for the forthcoming 4th Annual Drukpa Council to be held there in August.