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The document is a part of the Art, Theatre & Music section
of the Tibetan
Studies WWW Virtual Library. Please mail firstname.lastname@example.org
if you know of relevant networked resource not in this page.
see also 'Rebuilding' and 'Renovating' in Lhasa - TIN Special Report Sep 2002
(Tibet Information Network - TIN, London, UK)
[The TIN Special Report (10 Sep 2002, no. of pages: 10, ISSN: 1355-3313) is illustrated by 19 photographs and maps of Lhasa]
see also Lhasa Map (Tibet Heritage Fund, USA)
[A series of three maps showing the state of the entire urban area of Lhasa in 1948, 1980 and 1998. These are reproduced below. * A series of three map
showing highlighting the number of pre-1948 buildings existing in the old city of Lhasa in 1948, 1985 and 1998. * A map showing The Lhasa Historic City
Conservation Plan, showing 25 historic building earmkarked for preservation.]
Central Tibetan Administration
A unit of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamshala
Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh 176215
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:
TADC was founded in 1991 as an integral part of the Library of Tibetan Works &
Archives (LTWA), email@example.com. It
primarily aims to act as a significant guiding force for disseminating
information about Tibetan Architecture as a living and evolving
practice. The imperative need for this has arisen as the now exiled
Tibetan diasporas continue to build and search for not only root
connections to the traditions of their unique architecture but also to
search for contemporary formulations that can be identified as
Tibetan. The TADC will therefore become the leading reference source
regarding Tibetan Architecture worldwide. In addition, it will also
become the focal point for debate and documentation of the
idiosyncrasies, styles and practices of contemporary architecture as
practiced by Tibetans or in the service of the Tibetan community
STRUCTURE OF TADC:
The work of the TADC is organized around five separate sections as follows:
- Library of Specialist Books. This library is a satellite of the main LTWA library and contains books in many languages that pertain to Tibetan architectural practices. The cataloguing of this library is included within the main cataloguing system of the LTWA.
- Slide Library. Currently there are about 12,000 color and black and white slides covering the vast geographical area of Tibet. These include all the areas where Tibetan influences have significantly affected the culture and architecture of the region.
- Documentation. This section consists of a collection of files and photographs arranged and indexed according to the major centers and settlements where buildings influenced by Tibetan architecture have been built in the past and in contemporary times.
- Database. TADC is currently expanding it's computerized data base which will include a web site as well as digitized information that is stored in hard copy format in the other sections. This will enable remote access to the data by scholars and practitioners worldwide through the Internet.
- Special activities. In addition to the four sections mentioned above, TADC holds special activities such as exhibitions, seminars, conferences and workshops to promote good practice in contemporary Tibetan architecture. Some of these activities also relate to the historic aspects of Tibetan architecture with a view to eventually publish a definitive work on the history of Tibetan architecture.
TIBETAN ARCHITECTURE AND THE TADC:
As physical manifestations of culture, Tibetan monuments have been
particularly attacked since the 1959 Chinese occupation. Over 6,000
Tibetan monuments and buildings have been systematically demolished.
A microcosm, Tibetan architecture encapsulates central themes of
Tibetan religious beliefs, social and political ethos, technology,
inter- and intra-cultural relations. The structure of a building
exemplifies and reinforces the structure of the culture in a three
dimensional format. In continuing with cultural annihilation,
traditional architecture is suppressed for modern replacements of this
ancient way of life. Exiled, traditional craftsmen currently preserve
Tibetan architecture by replicating ancient buildings. However,
Tibetan architecture stands on a slope sliding into extinction and no
building built in exile can singly represent the Tibetan community.
The need for a centre to preserve, document, disseminate and,
hopefully, encourage the natural development of the architecture of
ancient Tibet and the Trans-Himalayan region has long been felt. The
Tibetan Architecture Documentation Centre (TADC) was formed in 1991 as
a part of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA), to
document the precarious tradition and act as a data bank for future
research and constructions.
Since its inception, the TADC, has focused on three main goals:
documentation, preservation and dissemination of information related
to Tibetan and Trans-Himalayan Architectural heritage. From an
academic perspective, TADC continues to document, index, and store a
growing archive of over 12,000 color and black and white photographs
and slides. This collection particularly includes locations where
Tibetan influences have significantly affected the regional culture
and architecture. For example, volunteers documented several
monasteries and structures in Ladakh and the neighboring regions,
keeping the flow of information and preservation alive. In addition
to visual data, a seminal collection of related texts, articles, and
grid maps is growing through the aide of volunteers, scholars and
donators. Both the visual and written materials are currently being
compiled into a computerized database, which will eventually go
Connected with the fledgling website, the TADC equally works for the
international and local dissemination of information and dialogue
relating to Tibetan and Trans-Himalayan Architecture. The database
and website act as a mecca for gathering information and opening
dialogue among scholars, practitioners, and the simply interested.
Branching international and local boundaries, the TADC has begun
hosting informal seminars and discussions. Locally, an architecture
club, mainly comprised of students and open to all interested, was
formed with the generous funding of the Heinrich Boll Foundation
(HBF). This club seeks to inspire an awareness and appreciation among
the younger generations, our remarkable future, towards architecture;
it's traditions, as well as the cultural rights of Tibetans, of
humans. The Architecture club has held an informal exhibition and
plans for more. The TADC, itself, holds exhibitions incorporating
local as well as foreign practitioners. Culminating all these
factors, the TADC performs simply one part in preserving the living,
invaluable spiritual and physical dimensions of the "Roof of the
FIVE YEAR PLAN OF TADC 2001 - 2005:
TADC has created a five-year plan to develop the five sections as the
main resource base of the center. In order to realize this objective,
the center is in the process of identifying and preparing project
proposals for funding, details of which are available as separate
Project Proposals. The resource base of each of the sections will be
built up with the following projects.
THE FUTURE PLANS OF THE CENTRE INCLUDE:
Are you interested in helping?
Whether you are an architect or not (most volunteers to date are
actually not from architecture related fields), you can make valuable
contributions to the goals of TADC. This can be financial assistance,
volunteering in various aspects of this organization from researching
to indexing of new data, or donating visual or written information to
the databank and library. Please include the appropriate information
regarding your type of donation. Thank you!
- Collect, digitize, catalogue and store growing library of color
and black and white slides, especially those which are pre-1959, rare,
or in private collections, as well as modern monuments and buildings.
TADC stores the data in specialized containers in dehumidifying
chambers to insure longevity.
- Continue to acquire and document written data, photographs and
measured drawings of Tibet and the Himalayan region.
- Create a standardized, accessible database of the aforementioned
materials as well as supplementary texts, grid maps, and an Inventory
Form for scholars and practitioners to add information and create
- Expand satellite library of pertinent specialist manuscripts,
books, and articles in various languages.
- Construct a permanent exhibition space and extend the
documentation area in the Library to create a standing display of
architectural drawings, photographs and slides.
- Host local and traveling exhibitions, organize seminars,
conferences, and workshops.
- Publish a biannual newsletter, Tibetan Architecture handbooks and,
in the future, publish a definitive work on the history of Tibetan
- In addition to acquiring more computers and related technology,
TADC plans to create and update a TADC website extending from the
Library of Tibetan Works & Archives website within the Tibetan
Government in Exile web page. This will include the designing of
special programs customized to the needs of the centre as well as
creating international links for those currently practicing or
interested in this field.
From March 26th till April 3rd 2001, the TADC will hold an exhibition
entitled "Identity and Styles of Tibetan Architecture." This eagerly
anticipated exhibition continues TADC's aims of documentation,
dissemination and dialogue among those currently studying and
conserving Tibetan architecture as well as opening discussion among
the newly interested. The exhibition seeks to provide a rounded view
of Tibetan and Trans-Himalayan architecture incorporating local and
foreign practitioners. A living entity, we hope the exhibition will
generate continuing interest and awareness among the people in this
area connected to these issues as well as among the many travelers to
Dharamshala. We hope to commemorate and further Tibetan Architecture
by creating a qualified base of practitioners, craftspeople, and
builders to help Tibet and Tibetan people redevelop into a thriving,
Included in the exhibition are as follows:
- An exploration of the Tibetan Mandala and its architectural significance
This includes the pre-exhibition on-site creation of a sand
mandala by Namgyal Monastery monks supplemented with an explanatory
text, video, and a currently completed three-dimensional model.
- Photo and Drawing Exhibition
Photographs and drawings of Tibetan and Trans-Himalayan buildings before and after 1959.
- Contemporary Architecture
Works from contemporary Tibetan architects, including Dorje Wangdi
Dewatshang and Claude Arpi of the Tibet Pavilion at Pondicherry, will
display traditional and innovative styles of developing Tibetan
architecture, including design and building concepts from the Maitreya
- Trans-Himalayan Display by Conservation Architects and Archeologists
This includes work by Conservation Architect Janhwij Sharma in the
Western Himalayas, Archeologist John Bellezza in the Changthang areas,
Pamela Logan's research on homes in the Kham and Robert Powell's
paintings of the Mustang Valley.
- Model and Development Plan of Gangchen Kyishong
This includes the first modeled drawings and detailed site model of the Dharamashala Tibetan Administrative area.
- Stupas and their Architectual Relevance
A first of it's kind, this section combines drawings of and 2ft model Stupa prototypes.
- Architecture Club
Students from the Architecture club will display research projects from the Himalayas.
- Seminar and public talks on Tibetan Architecture
Traditional Tibetan Architecture
Contemporary Developments of Tibetan Architecture
Policies and Practices in the Conservation and Preservation of Tibetan Monuments
The Future of Tibetan Architecture
CALL FOR ARCHITECTURAL DATA:
The TADC is a non-profit organization under the auspices of the
Library of Tibetan Works and Affairs, Dharamsala, India and
is run entirely by volunteers.
It is my work to collect data and/or photographs on important
Tibetan buildings and monuments in Tibet.
Presently I am concentrating on the Lhasa area and would like to
request you for any information (e.g. data, photographs) concerning
buildings in Lhasa or the direct environment of Lhasa that would be
valuable for me.
All data from both before 1959 and after 1959 are welcome. Of
course, I am also very interested in recent photos on Tibetan
If you do have valuable information and/or contacts for me, can you
please send me an e-mail as soon as possible. If you also have any
suggestions where I can find more information (i.e. addresses or
books), I shall pleased to receive it from you.
Only in this way we can really build up one central database of all
valuable data on Tibetan architecture.
Robert van Mulligen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
a note by Robert van Mulligen
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