During the summer of 2010, a volunteer group of US architectural students from BaSiC Initiative came to the school. One of their projects was to design, fabricate and erect a large canvas tent structure from recycled parachutes. The structure was then taken to London and re-erected in the garden of Marlborough House as the Commonwealth Pavilion during The Earth Awards and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales' START garden party in September 2010.

The Pavilion will return to Ladakh and take its place on the Shey campus once again in 2011.

DSCN3035 224

Illuminated Model School

During September 2010 the Royal Academy of Engineering hosted an exhibition about Druk Padma Karpo School as part of the London Design Festival. Arup Associates prepared a stunning display of school images before and after the mudslide damage, and built an illuminated model of the Master Plan showing how the campus will be when complete. The exhibition was open to the public.


Monday, 16 August 2010 12:41

Devastating mudslide 5/6 August 2010

During the night of 5/6th August 2010 devastating mudslides hit the Leh and Shey areas of The Indus valley. One of these mudslides swept through the school depositing up to 1.5m of mud, boulders and debris across a large part of the campus. All the residential students and staff escaped across a raging torrent of mud in the pitch dark of the night.

In the following days the devastation was recorded in these photographs.

Picture1   Mud 1 edit  Mud 5 edit 

Mud 6 edit     Mud 7 edit      Mud 3 edit

During the first few weeks following the mud and rock slide, the school received immediate help from many volunteers. The Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) sent a team of around 50 workers for three weeks to dig mud out of the buildings which was a tremendous help.

Picture2 edit

During this time the school received a visit from the Bollywood star Mr Aamir Khan, who filmed part of the hit film ”3 Idiots” at the school two years previously. Mr Khan was the guest of His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa, the school's founder. This visit helped to cheer spirits amongst the devastation.


Oxfam kindly provided emergency latrines. Médecins Sans Frontières offered counselling to the staff and pupils.

Sir Anthony Bamford of JCB Excavators kindly donated a JCB to the school in Septemebr 2010 at the request of Drukpa Trust in the UK. The JCB has already been extremely useful in clearing rocks and debris from the school campus and is now being used to create a ditch, wall and earth mound protection.


The Construction Manager, Angdus, and his teams spent the months before the harsh winter set-in repairing and replacing the broken doors and windows that the mud and rocks had crashed into. Where the mud had been deposited, up to 1-1.5 m deep inside rooms, the lower sections of interior walls, made of mudbricks, had to be removed as the moisture from the mud caused them to deteriorate.


While classrooms were unusable, some lessons were held in tents. Gradually the classrooms were ready for temporary use without furniture.

Apart from the two science laboratories, classrooms and offices have wooden floors and there was concern that the floors might be ruined and need replacing - timber costs are high. Once the mud had been dug out, the floors were cleaned and left to thoroughly dry over the winter for review in the spring.

Monday, 04 January 2010 18:02

Shey campus after the winter

Construction after the long winter started again in April 2012 with work on two Secondary School classrooms, finishing the defensive structure on the Eastern boundary and work on landscaping the school campus. The North block of Residence 4 will be starting soon too - a very busy summer construction season for Angdus (Construction Manager) and his team.






Thursday, 10 December 2009 00:00

Design Success

HKDFA_04_700x466The excellence of Arup Associates’ design work on Druk White Lotus School was recognised on 4th December 2009 in Hong Kong through the presentation of a ‘Design for Asia Grand Award’. The award was accepted by His Eminence Khamtrul Rinpoche on behalf of the School and by Francesca Galeazzi on behalf of Arup Associates.

His Eminence said:

“It is both awe-inspiring and humbling to be here in Hong Kong tonight to accept so prestigious a design award on behalf of the Druk While Lotus School, and the people of Ladakh. It is really hard to believe that our tiny, remote and isolated Himalayan region has succeeded in winning such international recognition. We have so much to thank for the inspiration and creativity of the multi-national group of designers from Arup Associates, who contributed so much to create Druk White Lotus School. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009 00:00

Classrooms manifesting

Two secondary school classrooms started manifesting on the campus during September. Of course a lot of work had already gone into building the foundations and pre-fabricating window frames, but the skill of the carpenters was a joy to see. The classrooms will be in use from November.


Sec 06

Thursday, 25 June 2009 00:00

Award for Inspiring Design

Arup Associates has won an international award for ‘Inspiring Design’ for their work on Druk White Lotus School. The competition was arranged by the British Council for School Environments (BCSE).


BCSE 2009 Winner 450


BCSE Award June 09




Tuesday, 24 February 2009 00:00

In the News

The Druk White Lotus School continues to be a project that attracts much attention in the architecture and construction press due to its fully sustainable design brief. This is an article from World Architecture News , which has just been published. Articles have also recently appeared in Metropolis (Feb 2009) and the Italian/Middle Eastern journal “Compass”

Monday, 27 October 2008 00:00

Angdus, Master Builder

Angdus has built the whole school, assisted by his trusty caretaker Lobsang, and many skilled masons, carpenters and labourers. Angdus is from the local village of Shey, and is married with two daughters.

Pictured below are Angdus with Rachel Glynn (Drukpa Trust Secretary from the UK), and Angdus with his second daughter, Tseskit.

Monday, 27 October 2008 00:00

Sustainable Design Update 2008

Several articles have been written about the design of the planned Pema Karpo Library at the very cenre of the campus. You might like to read these at Inhabitat and BD Online and Arup.


Sunday, 13 April 2008 00:00

Boost to renewable energy

Solar Panels
Druk White Lotus School has two modest solar installations, which have been used for some years mainly to pump groundwater for drinking, washing and irrigation. In 2008, we plan to implement the next stage of our renewable energy plan in order to provide clean energy to run computers and other equipment. The investment will be co-financed by carbon offset funds provided by Arup Associates.

Mike Beaven, Principal of Arup Associates said:

“As a global design and business consulting firm, Arup is at the forefront of designing for a low carbon economy. Our unified design practice, Arup Associates, is itself carbon neutral. We minimise the carbon footprint of our operations first, and then offset any residual amount. The Principals recently decided to carry out the offset by investing directly in renewable energy at the award-winning Druk White Lotus School in Ladakh, India. Arup Associates staff designed the system and will supervise its installation and commissioning, planned for July-August 2008. In this way, we at Arup Associates are applying our skills and resources to directly offset our carbon impacts, and to learn the practicalities of implementing renewable technologies in challenging circumstances.”

Wednesday, 12 December 2007 00:00

World Premiere

DWLS-LadakhKontentreal, an American television production company recently created an award winning series of programs about sustainable architecture for the PBS system in the USA. The series was such a success that they were asked to produce a few more episodes - one of these episodes “Druk White Lotus School - Ladakh,” (narrated by Brad Pitt, and directed by Tad Fettig) is receiving its world premiere at a public event sponsored by Autodesk at The Rubin Museum of Art (RMA) in New York at 1PM on December 19th.

The RMA is at:

150 West 17th Street
New York, NY 10011

Telephone: 212-620-5000 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: http://www.rmanyc.org/calendar/calendar.cfm

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