In the design of the whole complex, a commitment was made to integrate all buildings as much as possible within the natural environment by maintaining the existing topography, preserving rock formations, limiting the height of buildings and having buildings on only 12% of the land. This would then leave plenty of open space for gardens, trees, lakes and broad access ways. gatherings happen.
In 1993, the Governor of Rajasthan, H.E. Dr. Marri Chenna Reddy sanctioned the building of a proper approach road from Mount Abu to Salgoan. Construction started in January 1994 and a basic 2.2 kms road was laid down by the autumn. Villagers now have easy access to the town. Further, the construction work generated an average of 500, and at the peak 1000 short term construction jobs.
Mount Abu is in an arid region and enjoys long days of sunshine nearly all year round. With conventional commercial electricity supply at times unreliable, and relatively costly, the solar energy possibilities are appealing.
The Academy regularly offers three full meals a day to 700 or more people, making the energy requirements of the extensive kitchens an obvious priority. As plans were being considered for the overall development of the complex, energy-efficient construction techniques were studied and an experimental rural house and meditation pavilion were built. Their design features a newly developed dome-and-vault construction technique for stabilized soil blocks, or mud bricks, used internally with a double wall system to help maintain a relatively stable year-round temperature.
Completed in 1996, Gyan Sarovar, meaning ‘Lake of Knowledge’, is also known as the Academy for a Better World. It is the second campus built by the Brahma Kumaris in Mt Abu, Rajasthan. Gyan Sarovar stands as a modern village-style complex in the quiet rural setting near close to the Pandav Bhawan complex. Facilities include an auditorium that can seat 1600 people, 14 seminar and training rooms, and accommodation for up to 1500 people. Thousands of fruit trees have been planted in and around the complex. The campus incorporates several environmentally sustainable features including solar water heating for bathing, a solar array that generates steam for cooking and a hybrid wind-solar-diesel system.