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Khumjung Secondary School,

Nepal, 2017​

Shigeru Ban + Voluntary Architects’ 

Network (VAN)

Having previously supported the Khumjung School in the foothills of the Himalayas, the Doshisha University Alpine Club, which is based in Kyoto, once again decided to support the school after its destruction during the earthquake in April 2015, and reached out with an offer to design safe classrooms.


Traditional Nepalese timber window and door frames are still widely used, and can be easily constructed using simple tools. Maintaining the same logic and simplicity, the Khumjung project is based on modular wooden frames (210x90 cm) that are connected to form a wall system, and infilled with brick rubble. Using locally attainable materials and simple construction methods, wooden frames can be assembled very quickly, and thus become immediately habitable once a roof is secured on top. To meet the needs of classrooms in Khumjung, this wall system is repeated to form a row of classrooms. For the Khumjung School project, the overall design was adapted for the use of stone, a common building material throughout the region.


Shigeru Ban, born in Tokyo, 1957, is a graduate of the Cooper Union, New York. He began working
for Arata Isozaki & Associates in 1982. In 1985 he founded Shigeru Ban Architects. In 1995 he became a consultant to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and established the NGO Voluntary Architects’ Network (VAN) to support disaster relief.


Voluntary Architects’ Network (VAN) is a non-profit organization for post-disaster relief activities, ranging from immediate response after disaster to long-term occupancy and reconstruction projects. VAN has initiated projects across the globe, from numerous domestic projects in Japan to temporary shelters in Rwanda (1999); a reconstruction project in Kirinda, Sri Lanka (2005); a school project in Chengdu, China (2008); a cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand (2013); and the ongoing Nepal Project throughout Nepal.

Photo: © Saraf Foundation

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