Breath-taking” is a double edged sword… in Leh.

There are tomes written about the majesty, grandeur and the raw beauty of Ladakh, and for those who have travelled, and had a bout of “mountain sickness”, it’s quite something else.

Project Name: Kashmir University Leh Campus
Completion year: 2019
Gross Built up Area: 82,600 sqft
Project Location: Taru Thang, Leh, Ladakh, India
Architecture Firm: ANA Design Studio Pvt. Ltd.
Lead Architect: Mohd. Amin Nayyar
Photo Credits: ANA Design Studio Pvt. Ltd.
Design Team: Sitaram Gupta, Savita Khanna, Devender Thakur
Clients: University of Kashmir
Engineering: Somjit Sahni, Manoj, Vinod, Purshottam

Kashmir University Leh Satellite Campus By ANA Design Studio Pvt. Ltd - Sheet2
©ANA Design Studio Pvt. Ltd.

The mountains, and the shadows cast by clouds in different seasons create a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of color and texture. And yet, for those who live there, the weather and the altitude are a formidable companion to live with. And if that was not enough, it is a highly unstable, seismically active geology!

How does one, then, create a built environment that is …“suitable”!?

Kashmir University Leh Satellite Campus By ANA Design Studio Pvt. Ltd - Sheet3
©ANA Design Studio Pvt. Ltd.

A simple word… which sets off a whole area of research. Armed with faint memories of the time, and a lot of bookish knowledge, and faith in the ability of our team to simulate the building performance, we embarked on the journey of the design for the Leh Campus, of the University of Kashmir.

The campus is currently made up of two buildings that contain teaching facilities, faculty rooms, lecture halls and so on, a small residential block for resident teachers and staff, and an administration building that has offices, a conference facility and archives.

The buildings are completely insulated, by using a cavity wall system and polystyrene infill panels. The windows are made from high performance UPVC with steel inserts, and all the functional spaces are double glazed.

Kashmir University Leh Satellite Campus By ANA Design Studio Pvt. Ltd - Sheet4
©ANA Design Studio Pvt. Ltd.

The campus is designed along the contours of the gently sloping valley, and each building sits on its own “pedestal”. Not only is it an architectural “place” for good weather, but it also allowed us to have no buildings sited on filled soil, and allowed for a natural course to be created for cloudbursts, without harming any buildings. In fact, our careful siting allowed for the entire campus to be built, without any retaining walls.

The buildings are designed for universal access, with gently sloping ramps connecting both floors of the teaching departments. All the wastewater is treated on site, and high performance LED based light fixtures are used to light the buildings.

The class rooms, labs and offices are located around a simple, linear atrium space, which is protected from wind and filled with light. All the functional spaces were aligned in the building, so they received sunlight from the south and west.

The entire fenestration system is designed to have a mix of double glazed, thermally performing glass, and a set of Trombe walls in each space.

©ANA Design Studio Pvt. Ltd.

The buildings are sites for maximum heat gain, framing of the views from windows and openings, and creating “courtyard” spaces, by acting as windbreaks to each other.

Trombe walls trap solar heat, by allowing a small air gap between the external glass, and an internal thermal mass (in this case a concrete block wall painted black). The air inside the gap heats up, and rises. We used this thermal current to move warm air into the living space, and suction out cold air from near the floor, into the Trombe wall space; thus setting up a natural , convective heating process. All this time, the black concrete wall acts as a thermal mass, and once temperatures begin to drop in late afternoon; it releases heat into the living space.

As the campus grows, we hope, it will continue to provide educational infrastructure for the local population, and, we will be able to continue improving the design, technology and performance of the buildings.

ANA Design Studio Pvt. Ltd.

ANA Design Studio Pvt. Ltd. is an Architecture, Engineering and Construction Management consulting firm founded in 1996 with expertise in Cost Optimization, Sustainability and Building Information Modeling. We for less cost, and improved efficiency.

Irrespective of the size of the project, we deliver all documentation as well as project implementation in BIM. This has resulted in us being able to work overseas as well. We currently serve India, Oman, Dubai and Nigeria. Apart from this, we have delivered projects in Myanmar, and , as a sub consultant , in Ireland as well.

For us, each and every client is important and we learn something from each… With no specific order of precedence, we enjoyed projects with DMRC, University of Kashmir, Reliance Industries Ltd, KAT Aqua, Oman, DD Landmark Realty, Nigeria, Artee Group, Nigeria, Plasser and Theurer, Mahindra and Mahindra, Ranbaxy, amongst others.

have projects executed over 8+ countries, 43+ cities and 26+ years of experience in sectors ranging from Manufacturing and Process Industries, Institutional Campuses, Research and Technology Centres, Commercial Buildings and Retail Stores, Residential and Hospitality Buildings. The transparency of process and communication, allows the client to have visibility and control over the entire process. The ownership is with a single agency, so it not only speeds up decision making and progress, but is also instrumental in allowing projects to be delivered


Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.