Kalpavriksha, by Anagram Architects

Kalpavriksha was Anagram Architects' entry in a collaborative competition for an architectural symbol for India in Steel.

KALPAVRIKSHA- Sanskrit for “Tree of Dreams” | Anagram Architects

The Indian Nation

To avoid a simplistic representation of the nation, a ‘systems approach’ was chosen by shifting our thinking from objects to relationships; from machinic symbols to organic symbols; from foundational building blocks to more complex networks.

Instead of the familiar monolithic landmarks of static order, our approach highlights the creative possibilities of complexities, flux and dynamism.

Modern India was founded on the basis of certain enduring values:

  • Democracy
  • Pluralism
  • Freedom
  • Social and economic equity

A physical manifestation of these principles will serve as an identity anchor for the nation through its various transformations and revolutions

Space rather than a Spire

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 and manifestoes. It should:

  • Represent the Exuberance of ambition and aspiration
  • Represent the Calm of consolidated growth
  • Represent Hope at times of crisis.

The Banyan as an Idiom

Universal resonance

  • It is native to most regions of the country.
  • It is iconic in the sacred landscape of several Indian communities.

In villages and towns across India, the Banyan tree is a space to gather. It is a public forum to debate community issues.

It is a remarkable symbol of interconnectedness.

It is recognised as the Tree of Enlightenment in the Buddhist tradition.

The tree itself is self-renewing and represents growth through constant flux.

The nature of the growth is decentralized which helps it attain massive spreads.


Using a fractal pattern language, the organic growth of the tree is generated. 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 true nature of this morphing structure is hidden behind asymmetrically bermed earth. This reveals progressive views of the structure upon approaching and the deep root structure upon entering the space.

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.

The Significance of Fractals

Fractals are a geometric order that helps describe the arbitrariness of organic growth.
From domes to gateways to lattices to ritual iconography, the history of Indian art and architecture offers numerous examples of advanced fractal applications.

It is a self-similar geometry wherein each individual part is a reflection of the whole.
This interpretation represents how each citizen is connected to the other through the nation. Each steel hollow section member contributes to the structure and derives strength from it.

The symbol was named KALPAVRIKSHA which means “Tree of Dreams” in Sanskrit.

Project Facts

Status: Unbuilt
Location: Unknown
Structure: Fractal structure in Steel Hollow Sections (SHS) with investment cast nodes. End detail of LED clusters embedded in Coloured Stainless steel plates.
Design team: Anagram Architects, Siddhartha Chatterjee, and Mann Singh
Client: Tata Structura
Site area: 81 sqm
Covered area: 81 sqm

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