We typically send out our annual holiday greeting in late January and early February to coincide with the celebration of the Lunar New Year. This year’s e-card features a photo (left) that I took of some kids we met on a trip to Nepal and Bhutan last year (their lunar new year celebration is called "Losar" and it can last up to 15 days!). The kids are extending the traditional greeting of “Namaste”, which is (for those of you who aren’t familiar with the word) a way to pay homage or show respect for the person they meet. It literally means “I bow to you” and it recognizes the life force that we all share. I was constantly struck by the sincerity in the way people greeted each other and felt that this image would be the perfect way for us to express our best wishes for a happy new year & valentine's day to our friends and clients.
One of the most interesting things we saw on our trip was the arts and crafts style architecture in Bhutan. I've included (below) some photos that I took there highlighting some examples of the country's unique vernacular architecture, traditional architectural elements and construction techniques. Bhutan is focused on preserving traditional arts and culture and one of the ways they achieve this is by requiring that construction of all new public and private buildings adhere to traditional design criteria. Building design in Bhutan also employs some inherently sustainable design practices. Traditionally, Bhutanese buildings have been built with locally available stone, wood, bamboo and occasionally clay & adobe bricks. Rammed earth or stone is placed between timber frames for insulation. Roofs are raised with an open space (Shambarnang) below the roof which allows natural ventilation and creates an area for dry storage. Houses also utilize the space for sleeping during warm months.
SMarchitecture / Austin
a blog about smart design + architecture + interiors