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Conservation and Adaptive Reuse of Palay House

In collaboration with Achi Association India

Located at the crossroads of high Asia, Ladakh’s vernacular architecture has evolved over centuries with knowledge of local materials and in response to the harsh climate of a trans-Himalayan desert within its agro-pastoral culture. In the wake of rampant urbanisation and industrialisation in this fragile ecosystem, Ladakh’s vernacular heritage is at threat. The old village of Phey, on the banks of the river Indus and located 15 km from the main town of Leh, is a cluster of peasant houses that were built incrementally over the generations. These earthen homes have seen steady abandonment leading to their fast deterioration.

Our journey back to the vernacular was initiated by a more functional requirement of a space needed for residence, studios and storage. At first sight, Palay House seemed plausible due to its access and after initial measurements it seemed to have the potential to house our needs. After several more detailed discussions on space allocation and budgets around the required structural reintegration in 2022 the restoration of Palay House commenced.

The restoration involved identification of techniques and features of the vernacular used in the building and a study of material and past usage of the premises. We developed an understanding of different stages of development of the building across time in order to create a plan for its structural reintegration.

Year / 2022

Old Phey, Ladakh

Status / Completed

Type / Adaptive-Reuse and Restoration

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