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Tata Steel was the client for this collaborative competition: of designing an architectural symbol for India, in steel. Siddhartha Chatterjee and Mann Singh conceptualized the design in 81 sq m of area to symbolize India, a country of complexity and flux. To depict the notion of a nation numerous links emerge for the idea of India as embodied in an enduring ever growing Banyan Tree. The representation of aspirations of our nation, the forward looking spirit of our times, progressive self belief culminates in a tree of dreams ('Kalpavriksha' in Sanskrit) with its diversities. The construction reflects the interconnection of the parts to provide support and derive strength from the whole.

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 Response

The symbol forms an inclusive shelter which allows people to fill with their own meanings and manifestos. Thus, incorporating people and reach towards social sustainability in the life time of the project. It portrays a space for gathering and exchange. It encourages stakeholder participation through distributive frameworks. It shapes current realities to envision progress and constantly tries to forge new balances and sustainable processes.  The complexity and self organisation accelerates the change tempered by challenges. The progression of visions through sacred landscape provides a community participation which reinforces the cultural values.

The Fractals used for deriving this form, are a geometric order that helps describe the arbitrariness of organic growth. In this interpretation, it represents how each citizen is connected to each other through the nation. Each steel hollow section member contributes to the structure and derives strength from it.

Significant Features

Use of light emitting diodes (LED) to light up the symbol in night further reduces the energy consumption. The use of standard steel sections, avoiding the need of fabrication contributes towards unnecessary wastage of material and time. The earth excavated for laying the foundation is deposited around it as a berm to further enhance the landscape and be a part of it.

The simplicity of the structure provides a cost effective method to achieve a symbol for the nation. Further, the use of standard steel sections reduces the cost of getting it custom made.

The power consumption cost is only the lighting of the Golden SS Disks which uses LED's, a power saving way of lighting.

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