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Old Posted Apr 11, 2007, 4:50 PM
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Jai Jai is offline
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Trashi Chhoe Dzong Precinct, Thimphu, Bhutan


Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, is being redevloped according to the Thimphu Structure Plan (TSP) by team of Indian architects and builders led by India-based Christopher Charles Benninger Architects.

^ Urban Precincts in Thimphu Structure Plan.

The architcture is based on the traditional dzong architecture of the Indian himalayas, closely related to Tibetan architecture. The architecture in this master plan was was inspired by the architecture in Sikkim state and Ladakh, Kashmir.


Urban Design of the Trashi Chhoe Dzong Precinct

The one and half square kilometer zone surrounding the Trashi Chhoe Dzong was declared as special precinct in the new capital city plan. The urban design was prepared to reflect: 1) the symbolic checks and balances between executive, legislative and judiciary branches of governance; 2) the role of the state as represented by his majesty and the je kenpo, or spiritual leader of bhutan; 3) the place of the people within the symbolic geometry of the complex; 4) the integration of the numerous heritage structures, wang chhu river, surrounding hill and mountain profiles and vast open spaces.

The design uses continuous directional references to the apex of the sacred Utse temple as a unifying factor; symbolic placement of the branches of governance around the icon of the state; inclusion of the people in a vast public domain in the form of a memorial plaza to his late majesty, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The vista of eight fold path connects the judiciary to the dzong, and various symbolic gardens link the complex using an auspicious one hundred and eight chortens, auspiciously located within sacred energy zones. Except for vvip movement, essential maintenance, security and physically challenged access, no vehicles can enter the precinct, which is pedestrianized!

^ The Secretariat Complex is set within terraces stepping down to the Trashi Chhoe Dzong.

^ Chhubar Chhu Circle.

^ Jigme Dirji Wangchuk Memorial Plaza (Garden of Good Thoughts).

^ Parliamentary Complex

^ Vista of Eightfold Path.

^ Labrynth of Sixteen Emptiness


The National Secretariat Complex

The mountain Kingdom of Bhutan boasts of the world’s most pristine environment, ancient Buddhist and Bon customs, and a unique architectural tradition. His majesty has formed a Constitutional Commission, which will bring democracy to the country. To accommodate a democratic form of governance CCBA was engaged to prepare the new capital city plan, and then the Capitol Complex within that framework.

The Royal Secretariat Complex houses ten ministries, with provisions for expansion. It includes the Prime Minister’s Office and the Royal Civil Service Commission. Covering about one million square feet of built up area, the campus includes underground parking; high-tech security facilities; a banquet hall and staff dining; an auditorium; media center, dispatch office; and stationary shops. The campus adjoins and is part of the Trashi Chhoe Dzong Precinct in which the iconic fortress monastery sits. A study of traditional Bhutanese architecture resulted in a campus which blends with the heritage setting, which offering contemporary work places with the latest office spaces and facilities.

^ The Secretariat Complex is set within terraces stepping down to the Trashi Chhoe Dzong.

^ View of the Court showing entrances to the Ministry Buildings.

^ View of the Ministry of Finance.

^ View of the interior courtyard in a ministry.

^ Model of the Proposed National Secretariat Complex.

^ Model of the Proposed National Secretariat Complex.


Tshechu Ground

Most Dzongs and many Monasteries in bhutan have an annual festival, known as 'Tshechu.' This comprises of a series of dances in honour of Guru Rinpoche (founder of Vajrayana Buddhism in Bhutan), performed by monks as well as lay people. Thimphu Tschechu performed in Trashi Chhoe Dzong is one of the most popular festivals of Bhutan which attracts crowds up to 15,000 people per day. The present ground located inside the courtyard of the Dzong is proving to be inadequate for the growing number of people coming to be a part of this event.

To ease this pressure, a new Tshechu Ground was proposed on northern side of the Dzong in the Urban Design Proposal for the Dzong Precinct. The proposed Tshechu ground can seat 25,000 people at a time and utilizes the natural topography of the area to create stepped seating, which will give the spectators the better view of the event.

This ground also forms the starting point of the Vista of Eight Fold Path which connects the Trashi Chhoe Dzong with the proposed Supreme Court, forming a symbolic axis between the 'State' and the 'Judiciary.'

^ Tshechu Ground.

^ Tshechu Ground South Elevation

^ Tshechu Ground View.

^ Tshechu Ground View.



Dharma Sthal

Four hundred buddhist novices live in the trashi chhoe dzong, the majestic fortress monastery which is the icon of bhutan. Their conditions are unhygienic and their cooking arrangements threaten fire in the ancient wood structure of the dzong. the new design for the dharma sthal moves the monk’s quarters and dining across the wang chhu to its own precinct, connected by an ancient wood bridge.

The circular shape is symbolic of the buddha himself who was known as a flying wheel, or chakravartin, who could cut through ignorance and spread enlightenment. The parts of the wheel also symbolize the phases of a monk’s evolution, with the hub symbolizing ethical principles. The eight spokes reflect the eight fold path, as well as the spreading of the teachings. Finally the rim signifies meditative concentration and discipline. In the design, which has been approved by his majesty and bhutan’s spiritual leader, the je kenpo, there is an opening toward the pointed apex of the main temple of bhutan, the sacred utse! The dharma sthal sits in a “deer park,” reminiscent of the deer forest at sarnath where lord buddha revealed the four noble truths and the eight fold path in his sermon of the turning of the wheel!

^ Dharma Sthal

^ Aerial view showing the Dhrma Sthal positioning in the Dzong Precinct

^ Dhrama Sthal aligns with the Utse of the Trashi Chhoe Dzong

^ Utse of the Trashi Chhoe Dzong seen from the courtyard of the Dharma Sthal.


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Last edited by Jai; Apr 11, 2007 at 4:56 PM.
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2007, 8:49 AM
sanjupalayat's Avatar
sanjupalayat sanjupalayat is offline
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those where really nice plans for a new thimpu...hope u will cover the real images of this beautiful city..
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2007, 2:26 AM
ab041937 ab041937 is offline
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Incredibly beautiful!!!

A fabulous mix of ancient & modern architecture.
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Old Posted May 17, 2007, 3:20 PM
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elm07 elm07 is offline
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really beautiful ... well designed development keeping in mind the natural surroundings.
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Old Posted May 18, 2007, 12:51 AM
ab041937 ab041937 is offline
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I am surprised as to how well the modern architecture is combined with ancient buddhist heritage. I hope Indian builder & developers can do the same.
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