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    Glimpses of the Centre

Himalayan Centre, Mukteshwar

Overview

Nestled in Latey Bunga, Mukteshwar, 2300 metres above the sea level, stands TERI’s Himalayan Centre. Blending the best that nature has to offer with the latest in technological innovation, this green building is ideal for purposes off repose and research. In addition to a residential wing, this TERI Centre boasts a state-of-the-art conference hall, complete with a meeting area, rest rooms and Internet facility.

Panoramic view from TERI’s Himalayan Centre

Architecture

The architecture of the building reflects the local style. Practical considerations of locale and availability of resources also determined its design. The result – a simple, yet aesthetically designed building, which can capture the interest and imagination of the beholder.

Landscaping and lighting

Sunlight spills into sun spaces, warming the indoor areas

In accordance with strategic landscaping principles, trees have been planted on the northern side of the building to provide a buffer against cold winds. The general orientation of the building is south-east, ensuring that all major openings are in line with the sun. This positioning allows for optimal use of daylight for purposes of lighting as well as heating. Furthermore, each suite comes attached with unique solar passive features known as ‘sun-spaces’. These enhance heat gain by day and emit it by night, when it is required. Judiciously planned corridors in front of the habitable spaces dilute the glare of the sunlight, while trapping solar radiation to be emitted at night.


Renewable energy systems

Renewable energy systems in the form of photovoltaic solar panels have been integrated into the roof of the utility building and conference hall to meet a portion of the electrical requirements. An effective solar water heating system is in place to meet the hot water requirements of the building’s inhabitants. In the absence of sufficient sunlight, battery banks provide a power back-up of three days. Fibreglass panels in the ceilings and walls act as insulators, preserving heat and improving acoustics.

Solar water heating system
Photovoltaic solar panels for harnessing solar power

Water management

Despite the ample rainfall in the area, it faces a severe shortage of potable water. As a result, innovatively designed, twin-chambered water tanks are deployed in the harvesting and subsequent filtering of rainwater for human consumption.

The Himalayan Centre was designed with the basic purpose of disseminating relevant technological information at the grassroots level. A purpose it adequately fulfills by training farmers and villagers as to the latest techniques in agriculture. It is proposed that the water harvesting system used here be popularized amongst the locals in order to facilitate the conservation of the precious resource of water.