Kalpavriksha was a collaborative competition entry for the construction of an architectural symbol for India in steel.
To avoid a simplistic representation of India, a 'systems approach' was chosen by shifting our thinking from objects to relationships; from mechanic symbols to organic symbols; from foundational building blocks to more complex networks. Instead of monolithic landmarks of static order, our approach highlights the creative possibilities of complexities and dynamism.
As a manifestation of the values and aspirations of an entire nation, the edifice of the "Symbol" must form a space rather than a spire. It must be an inclusive shelter which people are allowed to fill with their own meanings. Concurrently, the Banyan tree as an idiom has universal resonance, and in villages and town across India, serves as the public fora for communities. It is a remarkable symbol of interconnectedness and is recognized as the Tree of Enlightenment in the Buddhist culture. The tree itself is self-renewing and represents growth through constant flux.
Using a fractal pattern language, the arbitrariness of the organic growth of the tree is described. In this interpretation, fractal growth represents how each citizen is connected to another through the nation. Each steel hollow section member contributes to the structure and derives strength from it.
Consistent with this geometry, the offshoots of the tree's canopy branch outward and downward to morph into the offshoots of the root structure, which, similarly, branch outward and upward. As a result the roots and branches mirror each other. The root-trunks are intertwined and support each other, attaining fluid equilibrium.
The dispersed canopy is articulated by a cloud of golden yellow stainless steel discs (electrochemically coloured), with embedded LEDs illuminating the contours of the "Symbol" at night.
Literally, Kalpavriksha translates into, 'the Tree of Dreams' in Sanskrit.