This year for the first time, Black Rock FX was given the unique opportunity to burn the Burning Man Temple 2013. It is a huge honor and one of the signature burns during the event.
Every year, the Burning Man temple has a different shape and theme. For 2013, it was the Temple of Whollyness. This temple was made out of wooden glulam beams in the shape of a pyramid. It was constructed in a way that meant this structure was designed to stand a very long time. This was a beautiful feature because the building struck awe in most visitors.
One advantage of glulam beams is that the high strength and stiffness of laminated wood allows for a structure which can span large distances without intermediate columns, allowing more design flexibility than with traditional timber construction. They are also designed to be flame-resistant, which becomes a challenge, since the Temple of Whollyness was conceived to be a huge effigy that was expected to be burned down to ashes. Since the wood was treated to be flame-resistant, there was no easy way to burn it to the ground.
Thankfully, we found a way!
The projected timeframe to burn the structure was 45 minutes. We were able to get the structure to collapse in only six minutes!
I greatly appreciate the chance to work on such a wonderful structure and hope we get a chance to do something like this in the future.