Thimphu Thromde recognised the top three designs for Clock Tower Square on November 24.
An architect with United Consultancy, Karma T Wangchuk, was awarded the top design prize of Nu 50,000. Jamyang Dukjey, an architect with human settlement ministry, was declared second with prize money of Nu 30,000, and architect with National Housing Development Corporation Limited, Pashupati Diyali, third with Nu 20,000.
Karma T Wangchuk’s design proposes a three dimensional dragon wrapping the shaft of the clock tower and its tail transforming into the roof of a stage. The seating area is arranged into terraces with different material layering such as plants, trees, wood, and different types of stones.
Jamyang Dukjey proposes to use the clock tower to harvest rainwater. The water would be used for the healing gardens, reflective pools and the fountains surrounding it. The gardens and the pools direct the audiences’ eyes to the main stage.
Pashupati Diyali’s design includes increased height of the clock tower, and increased surrounding space for exhibition. The design also proposes the addition of a deck at the centre of the seating area with a tourist centre at the base.
More than 50 participants had registered for the architectural design competition to develop Clock Tower Square. However, only 24 had submitted their design to the thromde. The thromde plans to renovate the area over a period of about three years with a budget of Nu 5 million.
City Corporation and National Urban Development Corporation (NUDC) built the clock tower in 1987.
Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said that top three were chosen instead of one, as none of the designs could fully incorporate what the clock tower square needed as an urban square. “We will sit together, pick the best aspects from the designs and make a master plan.”
Architect Dorji Yangki said that when designing an urban square, the design should incorporate the surrounding houses, buildings, hotels, and cafes. “When we look from the perspective of urban square the requirements are different as compared to a park.”
Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said that the main idea behind renovating clock tower square is to make it into a place where people from all age groups meet and socialise. “Just now it has become like the gathering place for youths. We see few older and younger people.”
Senior artist with VAST Bhutan, Kama Wangdi, suggested leaving the existing trees when developing the master plan as the trees were thoughtfully planted and takes time to grow.
He also suggested constructing chorten and prayer wheels to acknowledge the contributions of ancestors in developing Thimphu city.