The Strength of an Elephant:
RTA’s Phase IV is Launched

The Bhutanese calendar tells us that May 13, 2023, is a most auspicious date. The Earth element is at double strength and signals the power “that lets all wishes be achieved.” It’s an auspicous date for celebrating a birthday and the achievement of a powerful vision. And it’s an auspicious date for launching the final phase of that powerful vision.  

So it was on May 13, 2023, that a delegation of FRTAB representatives – Board members Dr. Frederik Paulsen and Krista Amason, RTA Architect Doug Soe Lin, Special Advisor Mya Soe Lin, and Director of the RTA Development and Construction Committee Warren Amason – participated in a special commemoration of Her Majesty’s birthday and a tribute to her legacy as founder of the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan. Against the soaring Himalayan backdrop, the delegation celebrated the opening of an inaugural RTA exhibit, A Tribute to the Life and Legacy of Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck. Her Majesty and the delegation were also treated to a performance of traditionally dressed dancers in ceremonial attire.

The ceremony also included the unveiling of renderings and plans of Phase IV, the ‘Elephant’ phase of the RTA construction project. The Academy design, now in its twentieth year of realization, is inspired by the Fable of the Four Friends, with the Elephant serving as the fourth and final friend, and a massive and integral component of the RTA complex.   

Phase IV of the RTA construction will include the installation of a central tower housing offices and a roof-top restaurant in full view of the spectacular Thimphu valley and mountains. A state-of-the-art auditorium, conference hall, retail shops, and underground parking are also included in Phase IV. When complete, the conference center will play a critical role for Thimphu and the country of Bhutan by providing sustaining income for the RTA and a profound economic and cultural impact on the country. 

In his address to the assembly, Dr. Paulsen praised Her Majesty’s vision for the RTA, the accomplishments of the dedicated staff, and the promise of Phase IV to the nation, declaring that “Bhutan, its living arts and culture, but most importantly its people, are a treasure.”  (Dr. Paulsen’s full remarks can be seen here

The RTA’s auditorium will become home to the budding theater arts of Bhutan. Planting the seed of many performances to follow, a troupe of local Bhutanese high school singers, dancers, and actors enlivened the event with a performance of the musical Grease.