The proposed Butterfly Reserve in Sikkim aims to be a celebration of this winged creature, found in abundance in the region. Owing to the high variation in vegetation and climate and its unique geographical location, Sikkim represents one of the butterfly hotspots in the world. Today however, their habitat is damaged by urbanization, infrastructural developments, invasion of exotic, non-native plants and climate change.
Humans are deeply interlinked with the life of butterflies. Butterflies are indicators of the health of our environment, and are directly associated with cultural beliefs and ancestry of the Himalayans.
The inherent conflict between behavior of humans and the butterflies' habitat, forms the central theme of the design of the butterfly Reserve. Therefore any architectural intervention needs to be sensitive of its social and physical environmental impact.
As a butterfly perches on tendril legs on a flower barely touching what it feeds on, so the interventions are designed to reduce the interference with the site. The interpretation pavilions are therefore lightweight timber frame structures on light steel columns; a principle based one "wattle and daub" timber frame structures that are a common vernacular building method in Sikkim. However the architecture changes its appearance by cladding the frames with local timber roofing shingles, mounted in a way not unlike the scale on a butterfly's wing. The butterfly is a reminder to make changes when the opportunity arises. Change and transformation are inevitable for us all. The journey through the park encourages this in the hope for a better environment.