influenced by the community-driven atmosphere of burning man, architect fernando romero of FR-EE co-founds the design group ‘planet collective’ and envisions the ‘holon temple’. the temporary timber pavilion could be constructed for the annual festival in nevada’s black rock desert, to stand for a week-long experiment in communal living and spiritual reflection. the team at planet collective comes together to generate a pavilion temple space at burning man — an event which draws tens of thousands of people — for gathering, meditation, and reflection.

fr-ee holon temple burning man
image by juan carlos ramos

 

 

the holon temple proposal by FR-EE and planet collective expresses influence from the ancient greek ‘holon’ — a word which describes an object both complete unto itself and an integral part of a larger system. guided by this concept, together with the principles of burning man, the temple takes the form of an oblong wooden ellipsoid housing a smaller version of itself that serves as an altar. the altar itself contains an even smaller replica, creating a nested system of objects that invites contemplation and embodies the idea of a holon.

fr-ee holon temple burning man
image by juan carlos ramos

 

 

to achieve the holon temple’s distinctive geometry, FR-EE conceives a system of wooden trusses which sculpturally bow outwards. these timber elements are braced by thirty-four circular horizontal members, each a symbolic representation of each year of burning man’s existence. the trusses culminate in the compression ring member number 35 — representing the festival’s 2020 edition — which opens to the sky to let in natural sunlight. recalling the oculus of the pantheon, the crowning compression ring incorporates millennia-old traditions of religious and spiritual architecture into the design of this contemporary temple.

fr-ee holon temple burning man
image by juan carlos ramos

 

 

rather than cladding the structure, the design allows the complex and expressive system of wooden trusses and rings to define the interior experience. interstitial space within the structural system let in daylight, wind, and sand, generating an interior which feels at once enclosed and intertwined with the surrounding landscape. as the structure nears the ground, the horizontal rings broaden to form benches that wrap the perimeters of the interior and invite festival goers to congregate, reflect, and meditate. in keeping with burning man’s tradition of leaving no trace, the temple is designed to be burned to the ground at the end of the week-long gathering. as part of this process, the design team plans to plant the number of trees required to counterbalance the amount of pollution the burning would generate.

fr-ee holon temple burning man
image by juan carlos ramos

fr-ee holon temple burning man
image by juan carlos ramos

fr-ee holon temple burning man
model image, courtesy of FR-EE

fr-ee holon temple burning man
model image, courtesy of FR-EE

fr-ee holon temple burning man
model image, courtesy of FR-EE

fr-ee holon temple burning man
model image, courtesy of FR-EE

 

 

project info:

 

project title: holon temple

architecture: fernando romero enterprise (FR-EE) + planet collective (PC) 

location: burning man, black rock city, nevada

status: in-development

design (FR-EE): fernando romero

project architect (FR-EE): romain thijsen

project coordination (FR-EE): liliana viveros, hugo vela, daniela gallo, nicholas dolan, jean-françois goyette

project team (FR-EE): germán sandoval garduño, pablo morales contreras, alejandro hernández morales, federico serna giraldo, libia castilla, adriana merchant, pierre tairouz

project support (FR-EE): aldo domínguez chávez, josé manuel soto álvarez, aníbal cárdenas escobar, edson rodríguez francisco, armando montiel camarena, jessica valdés huacuja, pamela hernández hernández, eduardo hernández morales

planet collective: james barlow, john spetrino, fernando romero, emma schwartz, jason sidelko, gerardo broissin, juan carlos quintero, oscar soto

media (FR-EE): oscar caballero, ariadna chavarria

media (PC): juan carlos quintero

structural engineer: broissinarchitects

structural optimization (PC): jason sidelko

on-playa construction lead (PC): john spetrino

fire performance design: FKB

burn liaison (PC): james barlow

renders: juan carlos ramos