Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Concept of GNH Centre, Bumthang: A Summary (for more information, please visit http://www.GNHcentrebhutan.org and http://www.facebook.com/GNHCentre)
Bayul Dewaling, Bhutan’s Centre for Gross National Happiness, will be situated on 46 acres at an altitude of 2,835 metres in Bumthang’s sacred Chhoekhor valley in central Bhutan. The blue pine forested site is bounded by the Chamkaar River to the west and south and by mountain slopes to the southeast, and sits at the southern entrance of the 4,914 square kilometre Wangchuck Centennial Park – Bhutan’s largest national park. The Centre’s purpose is to manifest in living practice Bhutan’s balanced development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH), which seeks to integrate equitable and sustainable socio-economic development with environmental conservation,cultural promotion, and good governance. Thus, the Centre will embody and model the principles of GNH in every aspect of its design, functioning, activity, and human interaction, manifesting simple and sustainable living in harmony with nature and other beings. It will attract Bhutanese from all walks of life to learn and experience how to bring GNH values and practices fully into their daily work and lives and thereby toserve their families, neighbours, and country at large with genuine purpose, compassion,joy, and effectiveness.
Catering to about 300 participants, the Centre will offer educational, leadership, and intercultural programs, meditation practice, nature experiences, entrepreneurial andskills training, work programs, and short courses — all deeply embedded in GNH principles.The GNH Centre will be developed with donor contribution, but eventually become aself-supporting non-governmental entity with its own board of governors.The design and construction of the Centre will also embody GNH values. Building design and location will be harmonized with natural site features and ecological principles, using renewable energy, passive solar heating, and a zero waste regime. No motorized vehicles will be on site. Traditional and sustainable building methods such as rammed earth will be used. And by harnessing local skilled labour, sourcing natural local materials, and leveraging local supply chains, the Centre will support the economy of the regionand highlight the rich human resources in the Centre’s vicinity.The design plan draws on several organizational models — using natural site features and a combination of ‘concentrated’ and ‘dispersed’ structures in a village/campus network. A ‘procession’ of structures proceeds from the most outward functions of the community building near the Park headquarters across the river to the more intimate residential and classroom functions. There will be a 150-person meditation hall and small meditation huts, nine GNH pavilions with flexible classrooms and small group meetingrooms, a studio and workshop, a sports and assembly field, a range of residential options, a bath house, landscaped gardens, trails, and two bridges linking the Centre with the national park.$7 million in funding is currently sought to realize this dream, which will provide great benefit not only to Bhutan but to a world seeking a viable alternative to the dominant materialist, consumerist model of development. If funding allows, architectural, design,and construction plans will be finalized by August, 2012; construction will begin in thesummer of 2011; and the GNH Centre will be fully operational by the fall of 2014.