The New Stone Age: Himalesque radio station, Nepal

What do you use when you're building a multipurpose radio station in the Himalayas? Stone, as our new book notes
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Himalesque, Jomsom, Nepal, 2013, by Archium. From Stone
Himalesque, Jomsom, Nepal, 2013, by Archium. From Stone

You don’t need a great face for radio, but the Korean architect Kim In-cheurl from the Archium practice in Seoul still gave this remote Nepalese radio station a beautiful façade.

The building, called Himalesque, is in Jomsom, the main settlement in the remote northeastern Mustang District, in the Himalayas, not far from the border with Tibet. It was built in 2013 and is home to the local Mustang Broadcasting Community station, but also serves as a community centre, and has camping facilities for trekkers exploring the nearby Annapurna range.

How does a contemporary, multipurpose building such as this meet all those needs? By using one of the most basic architectural building blocks -stone.

As William Hall explains in his new book, Stone, “at 3,000 m (10,000 ft) above sea level, it was not only expedient, but also essential to use locally sourced labour and materials – in this instance, gneiss, a metamorphic rock – for this radio station.”

“Studios and meeting rooms are arranged around this central courtyard,” he writes, “while deep canopies provide shade.” The columns here might be concrete, but the rest is rock; even the station’s microphones and other studio equipment are set on a stone slab table.

This courtyard is further protected from the strong winds and extreme weather conditions by porous, outer walls, also fashioned from local gneiss, which also enables this handsome building to blend into the surrounding landscape.

 

Stone by William Hall

For more contemporary images of great stone buildings - as well as many beautiful ancient ones - buy a copy of Stone here.


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