As an NGO seeking to create sustainable livelihoods and habitat for the majority of India’s population, Development Alternatives required a headquarters building to embody its ethos. Innovative approaches to the combined aims of sustainability and affordability were developed on site and in local workshops, in collaboration with traditional craftspeople. These included ferro-cement vaulting shells, adjustable daylight reflectors and a hybrid, largely passive cooling system. Elements of regional architecture such as the central courtyard with fountain both assist climate control and enhance the sense of place. The largely exposed construction materials were mostly sourced locally, and those from the building’s earth-and-stone predecessor were reused.