The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has unveiled plans for a massive development in Bhutan known as Gelephu Mindfulness City. This ambitious project, developed in collaboration with Arup and Cistri, will span over 1,000 sq km and feature 35 rivers and streams, with a unique focus on multipurpose bridges.
The design of Gelephu Mindfulness City draws inspiration from local architectural styles, and the topography of the lush site has informed the masterplan, which revolves around these eye-catching bridges. The bridges will serve as more than just crossings, hosting key city destinations, including an airport, a Vajrayana spiritual center, a healthcare center blending Eastern and Western medicine, a university showcasing academic activities, and more.
Local craftsmen will be integral to the project, utilizing natural materials like wood, stone, and bamboo, while referencing traditional Bhutanese architectural styles. Sustainability is emphasized, aligning with Bhutan’s carbon-negative status. Beyond the hydroelectric dam, specific details on sustainability measures are yet to be disclosed.
Gelephu Mindfulness City is the latest addition to BIG’s portfolio, following notable projects like the Qiddiya giga-project in Saudi Arabia and the floating Oceanix City. While the expected completion date remains undisclosed, the project has been formally announced by Bhutan’s king, showcasing a harmonious blend of cultural heritage and future prosperity.