It would be a mistake to characterize Burning Man as merely a festival in the desert. For one week a year, an entire built environment (dubbed Black Rock City) for tens of thousands of residents emerges out of the flat cracked-sand landscape, only to disappear again at the end.
Photographer and author Philippe Glade has catalogued this temporary architecture in rural Nevada extensively on his blog and in a book covering fifteen years of structural ingenuity in one of the most challenging environments on the planet.
By now you have no doubt seen images of outrageous costumes and crazy art cars, but again: there is more to Black Rock City than those sensational elements – there are equally eye-catching and physically-compelling structures made to house and entertain small groups and massive camps.
Consider this deceptively-simple tension structure, for instance, which provides shade but also allows for breezes to pass through, and culminates in a viewing tower at the top – all lightweight, easy to transport and assemble, but robust enough to withstand high-speed desert winds.