Name: Eric Strauss
School: Principal, The High School of Art and Design, New York
Title: Tibetan Architecture

Aristocratic Residences


Local Houses

  • wood imported and used for housing
  • horizontal timber beams provide roof support, supported by wooden columns
  • skillful carpentry, floors and ceiling wood
  • increasing use of cement in modern times

  • most common local residence style-white stone tower
  • built like military fortifications
  • perimeters built in the shape of trapezoid, increased strength
  • heavy at the bottom, (stone foundations) and light at the top, battered walls
  • usually two stories made of stone and wood
  • lower floor livestock
  • upper floor living rooms for the family, storerooms and a shrine room
  • flat roofs for removing snow easier, parapets
  • detailed decoration of doors, windows and parapets
  • painted black frames around doors and windows, complex wooden overhang decoration
  • organic design-buildings appear to grow out of the landscape
  • single story houses in Tibet

  • tents in the pastures of Northern Tibet, elaborately designed and were used as shrines
  • forested eastern Tibet-wooden houses
  • remote Nwari and other regions, caves and earthen houses are built

  • great variation in climate and geography, elevation in Tibet causes people to use different materials and styles
  • some light structure, pure wood, some mixed structure of wood and earth and some are heavy structure with thick walls, some are movable tents with different styles
  • northern Tibet-high sea level, construction material is limited, herders-a nomadic life




This site was created by [NAME] at the NEH Summer Institute "Literatures, Religions, and Arts of the Himalayan Region," held at the College of the Holy Cross, Summer 2011.