LIVING WITH THE SHERPAS
DECODING THE EVOLUTION OF THAME, A VIBRANT OUTPOST IN NEPALI HIMALAYAS.
Image source: author @ TEN, Zurich

Thame Valley, home to the Sherpas of Nepal, is located in the Solu-Khumbu Region and lies within the Sagarmatha National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Himalayas. The Summer School presents an opportunity for students of design and architecture to encounter the contradictory forces of development and isolation,at play,in a remote and rural setting. Traditional ways of knowledge transfer have failed to keep pace with rapidly changing social, environmental & economic parameters in the valley.The course would encourage students to develop a multi-media document that understands and deciphers local trends, influences and initiatives. The aim is to kick-start a repository of design that empowers the local community by helping them in guiding the future of built environment in the remote valley while conserving the unique heritage of Sherpa art, culture and architecture. If vernacular is in response to the landscape and culture, the assignment is to upgrade the vernacular because the context is evolving. The course will include visiting, documenting and decoding key specimens that outline the rapid evolution of built environment in the valley over the past century.The students will have the opportunity to attend workshops on "Architectural photography", "Seismic design in un-reinforced stone masonry" & "Monastic arts, crafts and culture".The beauty of Thame valley is unparalleled. Its contradictions uncanny. It takes 2-3 days walking from Lukla (the last air strip) to reach Thame village.The trek is moderate but would require basic fitness nonetheless.The week long course would be based in Thame village & does not include travel time.Expenses for students:Materials:Rs.2000, food & stay:Rs.20,000,local travel: Lukla-Thame-Lukla: Rs.13000/- (NON-GPA)

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