The proposal is a simple, modern building symbolically contextualised in its ancient urban siting with a dramatic backdrop of the Himalaya Mountains. Hence rectilinear forms denote the building's volume, while the multiple-peaked roof makes a metaphoric reference to the jagged skyline of the mountains.
Material selection is largely vernacular: natural stone, metal and timber. With primary consideration given to the local resources and harsh climate, a highly durable, low maintenance building is achieved.
The entire building is double skinned, with the protective space between the two also serving as building service and maintenance routes. The interior, is modularly divided into cells, 12 per floor across 4 floors. Some cells are removed to create a deep central court, around which natural illumination and circulation function, and to create semi-exterior exhibition spaces, while others are dislocated and diminished, always to the golden proportion, to create cracks of light and view shafts. The cells are allocated uses: exhibition rooms, vertical connection and bathroom nucleus, administration, library, shop, café, courtyard, terrace or void. The open roof spaces of the top floor admit natural illumination and are important to the passive heating and cooling system of the building. The building is contextualized by its materiality and volumetric massing of solid and void; it responds to the surrounding city and the site. It occupies the edge of two streets, with which it interacts by means of a projecting deck, and also utilizes for the loading bay entrance, on the opposite side of the building from the public entry. Façade openings are few but controlled to capitalise on the panoramic views of the city and mountains, with the remaining structural elements framing the landscape beyond. Despite its street presence the musuemís public entrance is via a raised interior garden, with a ramp that starts in the courtyard of an existing building and descends underground to the sunken court at level 0 of the museum.