The Peace Pavilion is the brainchild of the students and faculty of the BASIC Initiative’s Ladakh program and was designed and built in collaboration with Sarah Bonnemaison and Christine Macy of Filum Ltd, renowned for its fabric structures. Constructed from disused military parachutes, it is a fitting reminder of the intrusion of war on everyday lives – yet also highlights the goodness that can emerge from conflict.
Like all of the BASIC Initiative’s project the idea for this pavilion followed one of our central tenets th that innovative architecture and effective structures can build people’s capacity for hope and survival.
The Peace Pavilion does just that. Its original home is the Druk White Lotus School in Ladakh, or Little Tibet; this is one of the world’s most peaceful countries, bordered on three sides by the conflicts in China, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Disused military parachutes are a common currency and a daily reminder of the surrounding conflict. In June 2010, the BaSIC Initiative worked with local pupils and buddhist nuns to re-imagine and re-stitch together parachutes from this region of conflict into a parabolic hyperboloid tensile structure which resolves structural and design issues in a structure that symbolises peace and unity that this school and children hope for amidst the chaos of war and conflict in this region.
Sergio explains: “The legacy of the Commonwealth is one of peace, constitution and hope for the future. The Commonwealth Pavilion takes materials conceived for war and turns them into something positive – essentially building blocks for a peaceful future. We worked with local people to unpick a tool of conflict and restitch a place of sanctuary. This is the heart of the BaSIC Initiative, providing structures which unite and empower people to deliver a more positive future.”
In Ladakh, the Commonwealth Pavilion is a place for children and adults to meet, to share music, drama and ideas. At a practical level, it is a sanctuary against the intense sun hitting a country founded at an elevation of 13,000 feet. During September 2010 the Pavilion will be showcased at HRH. The Prince of Wales’ Garden Party to Make a Difference, as a prime example of innovative architecture improving the lives of others. It will then return to Ladakh to assume its place at the centre of this academic community.