How is Burning Man Built?

How is Burning Man Built?
Satellite Image. Image © NASA
Satellite Image. Image © NASA

Ever wonder how Burning Man’s famous Black Rock City rises from the dust of the Nevada Desert every year? A video by vlogger Shalaco Sching offers an insight, documenting the process undertaken by the team of surveyors tasked with creating a temporary city from scratch, year after year.

As Shalaco documents through his video below, his Instagram, and a written account on the Burning Man Journal, a team of 21 surveyors spend seven days laying the lines and waypoints of a 5.62-mile plan, creating the largest and most iconic art installation at Burning Man – the city itself.

© Shalaco Sching© Shalaco Sching© Shalaco Sching© Shalaco Sching+ 19

© Shalaco Sching
© Shalaco Sching
© Shalaco Sching
© Shalaco Sching

The process of building Black Rock City centers on “The Golden Spike,” a center point of the city plan. From there, the “lines” of the settlement extend over one mile, with small flags marking the center point of where arterial and radial roads intersect.

© Shalaco Sching
© Shalaco Sching

The team uses the intersection center point along with the center line of the arterial road to create two triangles. When combined, the triangles create a perfect square around the center point, the corners of which determine the four intersections, and street width.  

© Shalaco Sching
© Shalaco Sching
© Shalaco Sching
© Shalaco Sching

With street corner points flagged, the team uses the Golden Spike as a center point to establish the arched markings which, when populated, creates the iconic aerial image which defines Black Rock City every year.

© Shalaco Sching
© Shalaco Sching
© Shalaco Sching
© Shalaco Sching

Most cities they grow gradually. We have the advantage of being able to enact an entire city plan and make it consistent. A lot of cities that you would be more familiar with have developed slowly over time, so they don’t make a whole lot of sense. This city is planned to be temporary so we can make it a lot more organized than a regular city.
–Professor Plague, Surveyor

© Shalaco Sching
© Shalaco Sching
© Shalaco Sching
© Shalaco Sching

These seven days of planning, surveying, and assembly are ultimately what makes the Burning Man festival possible. Every August, the festival sees 70,000 participants come to Black Rock City from all walks of life, assuming the role of architects and construction workers to use the desert to build all sorts of shelters in a fast, sustainable way.

© Shalaco Sching
© Shalaco Sching
© Shalaco Sching
© Shalaco Sching

Follow @shalaco on Instagram to watch Black Rock City rise from the dust. Learn more about the construction process from his Burning Man Journal entry, and from the official Burning Man website. Explore ArchDaily's full Burning Man coverage here.

Building Burning Man: The Unique Architectural Challenges of Setting Up a City in the Desert

Every year in August, a temporary metropolis is erected in Black Rock City, Nevada. This is Burning Man, an annual event of art and architecture that attracts some 70,000 participants. The people who come to Burning Man come from all walks of life.

Image gallery

See allShow less
About this author
Cite: Niall Patrick Walsh. "How is Burning Man Built?" 14 Aug 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/900135/how-is-burning-man-built> ISSN 0719-8884
Read comments
© Shalaco Sching

火人节过去了,但临时城市是如何建造出来的?

You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.