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Songtsam Lodges: Tibetan Architectural Marvels
November 29, 2022
From Shangri-La to Namcha Barwa to Lhasa, each Songtsam lodge combines modern and traditional Tibetan architectural designs and blends in with nature. Employing specialist architects and builders and responding to Tibetan renowned monuments, Songtsam provides a unique opportunity for guests to learn the evolution of Tibetan architecture, from ancient times to the 21st century. Moreover, each property promotes traditional architectural designs while protecting the environment and locals' heritage.
Songtsam Shangri-la Lodge was built with locally-sourced materials, including earth, wood, and stone. These materials blend with the local landscape while preserving the warm characteristics of Tibetan architecture. Songtsam Lodge is made using centuries-old Tibetan architectural features, such as load-bearing columns with shorter wooden beams reinforced at the bottom intersection of two beams. The walls widen at the bottom to lower the center of gravity and enhance the building’s stability.
The use of bold and delicate colors like white, black, yellow, and red is one of the main characteristics of traditional Tibetan architecture. Each color and color arrangement has a specific religious and cultural meaning. White for good luck, black wards off evil spirits, yellow for divinity, and red protects the law. Songtsam adheres to these color arrangements and meaning in exterior and interior décor. During your stay at Songtsam Shangri-la Lodge, you’ll notice the elaborate use of contrasting colors everywhere.
Songtsam Lhasa Linka is an architectural marvel with the soul of Potala Palace, as it features the architectural elements of Potala Palace to promote the essence of Tibetan architecture and culture. Songtsam Lhasa Linka combines palace fortress-style, monastery, and noble house architecture with a garden. The building’s exterior design is similar to the Minshulin Monastery in Shannan. This lodge has a wall that blends the features of traditional Tibetan architecture, including block stone masonry. This unique stone-stacking process preserves the stones’ original shapes, as they are used without cutting, resizing, or smoothening them.
In Dalin village, Songtsam Namcha Barwa Lodge combines three Tibetan-style buildings. Traditionally, Yunnan stonemasons carve coarse stones to build the backbone of the house. Then, carpenters polish solid wood beams and install them to support exterior structures and bring the building to life. Songtsam Namcha Barwa Lodge was built using this method, ensuring continuity of this traditional Tibetan architectural style. The lintels and windows feature beautiful Tibetan decorations and carvings that express traditional artistry in detail.
Songtsam Namcha Barwa Lodge is made of natural stone and wood, allowing the building to blend with the environment. All the stones used for construction were dug at the site where Namcha Barwa Lodge stands today. After extracting the rocks, the holes were filled with soil and small rocks from around the site. This construction process costs more than quarrying the stones along the Yarlung Tsangpo River close to the lodge. But it is eco-friendly and fulfills Songtsam's commitment to the region's sustainable development.