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Burning Man's ephemeral architecture takes center stage in new book

The towers and tents of a temporary metropolis

Totem of Confessions by Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti and crew in 2015.
Photo by Philippe Glade

The annual gathering of Burning Man—the week-long art festival in the Nevada desert—is two months away, with over 70,000 attendees expected. Each year, organizers and attendees construct a “temporary metropolis” complete with emergency services, restrooms, and stunning pop-up architecture.

A new book, Black Rock City, NV: The New Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man, explores the streets, camps, and villages of Burning Man’s famous structures. Written by French photographer Philippe Glade, the book includes 200 new images taken from 2011 to 2015 and is a sequel to another photo-heavy volume originally published in 2011.

Black Rock City may not exist on any official map, but for one week, tens of thousands of people live in the harsh desert. Attendees and organizers have to manage a slew of challenges: a strict Leave No Trace policy, the risk of 40-60 mph winds, hot sun, the potential for unexpected rains, and cold nights.

With his collection of stunning images, Glade documents how organizers and attendees accommodate all of these challenges in their built-from-scratch city, whether through elaborate towers or simple canvas tents.

Calling his volume “a survey of weather-tested temporary and nomadic shelters as seen nowhere else,” Glade has included captions and resources to make it not only a visually-striking coffee-table book, but also a valuable reference book for architects and urbanists.

The book is available for purchase here.

The playa at Burning Man in 2014.
Photo by Philippe Glade

The Chiton by D’Milo Hallerberg in 2013.
Photo by Philippe Glade