Fragile Equilibrium: Environmental change and Cultural Resilience in the Himalayas (Shaw 2018)

Author: Brett Shaw

Thesis Advisor: Catherine Bonier

Date: 2018

Master of Architecture

Carleton University



This project proposes a series of large-scale phased interventions to help sustain, delay, or distribute water resources in the Himalayas. It is an imagined application of an already tested water storage method, the Ice Stupa. This engineered method of building ice and storing water might be applied as a calculated planning strategy to aid Tibetan communities in their struggles with flooding and drought. In addition, a sited consideration of these stupas might offer additional programmatic functions related to tourism, animal husbandry, and agriculture, the primary economic supports for the villages studied. As giant freshwater glaciers melt, strategic water management will become the foundation of resilience. Architecture is often seen as foreign to such dynamic endeavours. This thesis proposes that design may have a critical role to play in this environment of fragility and severity.

Image from Page 110, Fig. 72 (Site Plan, Burang Town)