FuturArc Showcase

Nov-Dec 2016   

National Happiness Centre

Located in Bumthang, a mountainous region in the northeast of the country, the National Happiness Centre was initiated by the Bhutanese Royal Family and the government, to celebrate Bhutan as the first country in the world to replace the conventional GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and the HDI (Human Development Index) indicators with the GNH (Gross National Happiness) index. The objective of the centre is to spread the Bhutanese philosophy of happiness through daily meditation and practising Zen with everyone who visits.

Two in the four main GNH index are environmental protection and preserving cultural identity. Therefore the government had requested the centre to be environmentally friendly and representative of local contemporary and traditional cultural identities through its design.

What is (and How to Achieve) Architecture of Happiness?
by Hoang Thuc Hao and Dr Quang Minh Nguyen
Faculty of Architecture and Planning, National University of Civil Engineering, Hanoi, Vietnam

The Architecture of Happiness was published in 2006 and may be the most outstanding book on this subject so far. The author of this major (and rare) work is Alan de Button—a Swiss TV presenter living and working in London. He analysed environmental and contextual parameters that may influence how people think, how ideals in architecture can be reflected in their needs as well as desires. The author is not an architect; his view of architecture was gained after travelling extensively across the globe and experiencing different cultures. In his writings, he showed an admirable understanding of the social aspects of architecture, when he assumed that buildings speak of democracy or aristocracy, openness or arrogance, welcome or threat, sympathy for the future or hankering for the past.


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