Lali Gurans Orphanage

Lali Gurans is a semiautonomous, sustainable community center in rural Kathmandu, Nepal, containing a community library, meeting house, and orphanage for 40 children and young adults.
The design draws from the local building method of a 30-centimeter, reinforced-concrete frame with block infill, but adds an extra layer of columns to eliminate the need for brick. This creates a more open framework that admits daylight to the interior. The form slopes inward for structural and seismic stability, so the facade becomes closer to a roof than a wall. Between the layers of exterior structure is a zone that oscillates between inside and outside, containing the primary vertical circulation as well as glazed solaria and planters. Stairs between the two layers of structure act as X-bracing for lateral stability and connect various programs together through a vertical picturesque landscape garden. In addition to its concentric exoskeleton structure, the building also integrates low-energy and low-tech sustainable systems, including: a brise-soleil; permaculture roof gardens; biogas; solar panels; rainwater collection; natural lighting; passive wastewater treatment; and passive heating and cooling. Built to withstand a seismic intensity of IX on the Mercalli scale, the structure withstood not one but two massive seismic events in Spring 2015, while under construction.
Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Program: Orphanage, Library, Classrooms, Gardens
Size: 36,000 sf
Status: Under Construction, Expected Completion 2017