The Tri-Haut waste sorting and recycling centre for Everest

The Tri-Haut waste sorting and recycling centre

The building presented here was designed by Laurène and Lucas (members of the association in 2023/2024) with the help of Simon, Baptiste and Victorien, members of Atelier Dhunga¹.

Thanks to our collaboration with the SPCC² and Sagarmatha³ National Park, we have a strategic location in the village of Pangboche to build the sorting centre. This plot of land is located on the outskirts of the village, in the direction of the Everest base camp, at the junction between the upper and lower trekking routes (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. drawing showing the context of the project. ©Atelier Dhunga

The direct proximity of the site to the hiking trails will provide visibility for tourists who will be able to visit the center when it is completed. The plot also boasts a superb view of Ama Dablam, which rises just in front, as well as Lhtose, Nuptse and Everest on the back (Fig. 2)!

Fig. 2. Photo showing the plot in the foreground and the view of the peaks in the background.

The center’s main activity is to process waste brought down from the surrounding mountains or from nearby villages. The first building (Figs. 3 and 4) will house all the machines and functions required for waste processing (storage, sorting, shredding, washing, recycling, etc.).

fig. 3: Plan showing the first building.

The other part of the building will house a tearoom : a space for welcoming the public. There will also be an exhibition space to present the project, explain the center’s purpose, and raise awareness of waste management issues among local stakeholders.

Fig. 4. 3D showing the first building.

Our aim was to design a building with minimal environmental impact, in line with the project’s own approach. To achieve this, we drew inspiration from local building techniques and know-how.

In this region, stone is the most common building material. Indeed, stone is available locally and will be used as the main material for building walls. As the village is located in a seismic risk zone, we have to use the principle of parasismic bands (Fig. 5). This principle consists of intersecting dry-stone walls (with no joints between the stones) with wooden frames, creating an expansion joint to better withstand earthquakes.

Fig. 5. Picture of parasimic band. ©Atelier Dhunga

The other predominant material used is wood. In keeping with the seismic approach, the structure that will support the roof is independent of the stone walls. We have therefore designed a wooden structure made up of successive portal frame, which will support the sheet metal roofing (Fig. 6). This material will also be used for the exterior cladding, which will take over from the stone in the height of the building, allowing for a lighter material in height, limiting the weight that rests on the stone walls. The wood will come from the valley below.

The roofs were designed to create south-east-facing zenithal openings (Fig. 6), bringing light into the building. Combined with other openings to the west, these will also provide natural ventilation.

Fig. 6. Cross-section of the building housing the machines.

On the ground, the aim is to use as little concrete as possible; the floors and foundations are made of stone, with only a concrete footing⁴ and top ties to consolidate the stone walls (Fig. 6).

Plastic sheets made with Sheetpress are also used as building materials. We’ll be using them as partitions, for example (Figs. 7 and 8).

Fig. 7: Schematic illustration of plastic partitions.
Fig. 8: Prototype of a plastic partition.

We’re also thinking about using them for exterior cladding or roofing, as tests have already been carried out for these applications (Figs. 9 and 10).

Fig. 9: Prototype roof with plastic tiles.
Fig. 10. Plastic cladding prototype.

The tea room will be built differently. The walls won’t be made of stone, but of wood-frame construction insulated with plastic wadding made from plastic waste. Its precise shape and layout have yet to be worked out, and this will be the role of the future team !

  1. Atelier Dhunga is an architectural agency made up of three French architects : Simon, Baptiste and Victorien. They have experience of construction in Nepal, having built a school there. We are working with them to design the center and prepare the construction site.
  2. SPCC: Sagarmatha Pollution Control Commitee, an organization that manages waste in the region.
  3. Sagarmatha is the other name for Mount Everest, and also for the national park where the center will be located.
  4. A concrete footing is a surface foundation at the bottom of a wall.

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