Architecture Competition for a sustainable School: Minimum School Ladakh

Registration date:


Submission date:




Ladakh is a cold desert in India. Lying in the Great Himalayan Region, it has the mighty Karakoram Range in the North and in the south, it is bound by the Zanskar mountains. The area is remote: the main road linking Ladakh with the rest of India is cut off by snow for six months or more each year. It is one of the least populous areas of India and is largely rural in nature. The capital city of Leh is the biggest and only urban center in the greater Ladakh region. This is a high-altitude desert environment where water is precious. Agriculture and human settlements depend on water from snow melt, which flows towards the Indus River.

The aim of the competition, MINIMUM SCHOOL is to create a model sustainable school that creates a robust educational community in this remote area. The school shall be built on the foundations of local culture and architecture with an aim to provide high quality modern education. The school should celebrate and enhance Ladakhi traditions and establish a holistic educational and academic community.

The idea of a minimum school is built on the pillars of adaptability, modularity, and sustainability. The school should be built using minimum resources, shall have a minimum energy footprint and create minimum disturbance to the context. The architectural aspect of the built form (volume, materiality and aesthetic features) should be (inspired from) the local vernacular building techniques. The school should possess the ability to sustain and support the fragile relationship between humans and natural ecosystems.

The school should cater to a small community and provide education to around 80-100 children from the vicinity. The age group can vary from kindergarten to 15 years with an aim to democratize education. Good architecture is price-less, not price-full. Architects should aim to maximize the aesthetic and efficiency potential of the minimum school and allow people to dream. It should liberate and uplift the people and make a powerful impact on the community.