THF builds Central Asian Museum in Leh
Posted by Andre on 03 Jun 2009 at 3:06 AM
Model of the Central Asian Museum in Leh (D. Krüger)Anjuman Society and THF at foundation ceremonyIn 2007, THF and the Anjuman Moin ul-Islam Society cooperated on the restoration of Leh's oldest mosque, the Masjid Sharif in the Tsa Soma garden in the Chutayrangtak area of the old town. With the help of Intach J&K, the idea to build a museum on the site was developed. This would be the first museum proper in Leh (apart from an amry museum by the airport). The idea was to inform about the Central Asian trade, of which Ladakh long has been an important crossroads, and which has had a long and lasting influence on the development of Ladakh's unique culture.

Site plan Central Asian Museum (THF)
THF/LOTI were asked to provide the designs. The School of Architecture of Berlin University of Technology participated as part of a course on Himalayan architecture in which THF was involved. Students A. Schubert and N.-A. Grzywatz had the idea to build the museum in the shape of a traditional Himalayan tower. The planning was done by THF/LOTI's Ladakh team consisting of A. Alexander, volunteers N. Weber, B. Preller, D. Krüger, S. Klein and incorporating ideas by A. Catanese and LEDEG's M. Ete.
The museum is partly inspired by Leh's 16th century Tsemo Tower, as well as by the classical Tibetan building form Ka-zhi Dung-gyae (4 pillars 8 beams, an idealized concept). It has been designed with two shells, so that a staircase between the outer and inner shell provides access. The staircase has been designed as a double-helix, so that like in a caravan trek visitors will visit one rooms after the other only one time while going up and down.
After the design has been approved by all sides, THF/LOTI were officially entrusted with building the museum. It will be built with traditional technology, i.e. stone walls with mud mortar, an internal timber frame without nails etc. on foundations for which cement has partly been used for greater stability.
The foundation stone was laid during a ceremony on August 22. More here.

Copyright, Tibet Heritage Fund