London-based architecture studio Mamou-Mani has successfully pitched to build Burning Man 2018’s Temple. The winning design, Galaxia, will feature a 3D printed mandala symbol at its heart.
Once a year in the middle of Nevada’s Black Rock desert, a metropolis fueled by self-expression and filled with more art than you could shake an art-covered stick at materializes. Leaving reality behind for nine days of revelry, the Burning Man Festival is undoubtedly the place to see something unusual.
Architecture plays a large role, too. A permanent fixture in Black Rock City (the literal town that emerges for the festival) is the Temple, typically a large and ornate structure that festival goers can enjoy and inscribe personal messages onto throughout the event. This structure is then burned to the ground towards the close of the festival.
For 2018, the design and build of the Temple falls to London-based architect Arthur Mamou-Mani (and his eponymous studio), whose winning pitch, dubbed Galaxia, features a concentric spiral of 20 timber trusses.
Spiraling into the sky, these trusses will form internal channels for participants to walk through, before arriving at a central space that will feature a huge 3D printed mandala (a spiritual symbol commonly found throughout Hinduism and Buddhism).
All Fired Up: Designing for Burning Man
When not manning his architecture firm or the Fab.Pub, Mamou-Mani teaches as a professor at the University of Westminster. Over the last six years his Architecture Master’s students have participated in Burning Man. Using the festival as a unique test bed for ambitious projects, they gain real-world experience utterly unlike anything found at the University.
An army of volunteers, in addition to filled roles will make Galaxia happen. But, for the initial building the Reno Gazette Journal reports that Mamou-Mani and his student team will take to The Generator makerspace in Sparks, Nevada.
Pre-fabricated away from where Galaxia will stand, Mamou-Mani’s hands-on and technologically driven approach will see 3D printers, laser cutters and robotic drill arms brought to bear.
Believing that such tools bring the architect back into the field with a practicality somewhat lost in recent times, Mamou-Mani continues “I really hope that this project will help prove that architects can build too, and that we will soon be able to use those digital fabrication tools for on-site construction. Using this example of the Temple, architects can be more involved and therefore create buildings that are more unique, more spiritual,”.
Burning Man takes place from August 26 to September 3, 2018.