Phenotype Architecture Studio

Shel, Ladakh

To design a project in Ladhak is to forget all established notions of architecture. We needed to understand the materials available locally and the construction techniques that can weather the extreme climate. The entire building is made out of the very land it sits on. A truly sustainable structure. The columns, beams and floor slabs are made of willow and sal trees from the site. The walls are built from two layers of mud bricks also created from the soil of the site, to create adequate insulation and thermal mass required to make the building inhabitable. The idea is to disappear into the landscape and allow the user to experience the astounding natural beauty around. It is a six bedroom homestay sitting on the banks of the Indus River with 360 degree views. The wood and mud form the perfectly muted, calm and comforting palette for this arid beauty of a land. The rooms all capture sunshine to stay warm in the day and the Bukharis provide warmth at night. There is even a skylight in the room to sleep under the visible Milky Way!