burning man temple of whollyness

Burning Man Temple 2013 burn a success

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.

2013 temple whollyness preburn

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.