We gathered on the roof of Lala’s Café to meet Andre Alexander, a specialist in Tibetan and Ladakhi architecture. He gave a fascinating background to the Tibet Heritage Fund’s restoration work in Lhasa and Leh which uses traditional methods with minimal modern additions. An informative discussion followed on the merits of different construction materials, earthquake and flood resistance features, local skills and resources, and how to engage with the local community.
As we wandered with Andre through the tightly packed buildings of the old town, we explored traditional houses and construction details, and were invited in for tea by one of residents!
The tour finished at the leafy construction site of Andre’s Central Asian Museum where craftsmen were honing stones and whittling timber. This will be the first Museum in Leh and is a demonstration of the strength and beauty of local technology and craft. The group left feeling inspired by the contemporary interpretations of traditional technology. There was plenty to discuss over dinner.