Temple Galaxia (2018)

Client: Mamou-Mani Architects
Architect: Mamou-Mani Architects
Location: Nevada, US

Date: 2018-09-02 00:00:00 +0000
Tags: art, festival, timber, computation

Format have collaborated with Architect Arthur Mamou-Mani on Burning Man installations for several years, each one increasing in scale and complexity. This year we were privileged to be chosen to deliver the main structure on the site, the central temple. Mamou-Mani Architects design was for a spiritual space defined by 19 radiating curved trusses meeting in the middle and rising upwards into a crown which is open to the elements. The structure has no internal support and spans a clear 50m and rises to 27m in height. By any comparison this is a huge timber structure

Because of tight timescales and the ready availability of volunteer labour from within the Burning Man community it was decided to idealise the structure as a 3d timber space frame where each of the trusses effectively leans on the one next to, and below it. The radiating eccentric geometry needed a central compression ring truss at the bottom of the upper crown to prevent global twist and structural steel anchors at ground level to take the lateral thrust. The timber space frame was then sub-divided into separate triangles which could be fabricated in different workshops across Reno and then transported to site. A great deal of thought went into the connections of the triangles to try and make them as simple as possible, to not have to rely upon complex engineered connections and to make them ‘tolerance proof’ This philosophy was found to be be a sound one as many small corrections had to be made in the build process. Two of our employees travelled to Nevada to help build the structure. Their input was invaluable in ensuring the structure was erected safely.

The structure was successfully finished in time for the festival attendees to experience the space before it was ceremonially burnt at the end of Burning Man.

The design attracted press coverage from around the world and we are proud that it was designed and engineered here in the UK in tandem with a dedicated team in the US.

Photos 1 Alex Medina www.alexmedinaphotography.com