Design concept

From the very beginning the design concept was to create a simple design, affordable and adapted to the local conditions. Our method is based on architectural innovation and choice of materials.

We use mainly rammed earth for the walls. Rammed earth is an ancient technique used in hundreds of monasteries, castles and forts around Ladakh, Lahaul, Spiti and Tibet. These structures have survived, unprotected and exposed to the elements, for hundreds of years.

Although at first glance rammed earth could seem not strong enough, our design makes the walls extra wide and the beams are fastened specially to strenghten the structure and make the building earthquake resistant.
The walls and the floor serve as massive thermal mass/heat bank that stores the heat generated during the day. The stored heat is released slowly during the night when the outside temperature falls. There’s no solar gain in summer.

We have implemented three types of passive solar design:
Direct gain, trombe wall and attached greenhouse.
EcoDesign buildings are not only technically efficient they are a balanced mix of traditional Ladakhi architecture and modern science.


To make our buildings affordable we use low cost locally available materials such as mud and stones. Cement and steel are also used in places such as stairs, pillars, slab, beams, and floor. Cement is also used as a mortar for the stone floors or as a stabilizer in the final mud plaster.
Although we use mainly rammed earth we can also build using cement as the main component.

Insulation plays a very important role in passive solar design. We use a wide range of insulation materials and we use them according to the location and budget.
Usually we use wood shavings and sawdust which are produced on site during the construction. Whenever possible we also use dry crumpled paper. Empty water and cold drinks plastic bottles have also been used; they provide cheap insulation and by using them we help to clean up the environment. Needless to say that these materials are easily available.
If the budget allows it we also use prefabricated insulation materials such as glass wool or EPS.

Thus our buildings are low on industrial materials and high on human labour, meaning they are not only good for the environment but for the society too as they generate jobs.