This article documents an action-research and collaborative-design process for building a disaster-prepared public space and water infrastructure in Thecho, Nepal. When the 2015 Gorkha earthquake devastated the country, public open spaces provided safety and resources post-disaster. The project identifies the paati, an existing public space typology, as the genius loci and embeds the paatis with new public infrastructure. Combining earthquake reconstruction, historical preservation, and risk reduction, the intervention provides improved daily water access and a safe space to gather post-disaster. Documenting and reflecting on this process illustrates the importance of ethnographic fieldwork and local partnerships in designing for a disaster-prepared public realm.
Keywords: architecture, Asia, infrastructure, urbanism and planning.