Embrace is a large scale sculpture by the Pier Group. They’re proposing it as the Caravansery Temple.
What it has to do with caravans and Arabian nights, I’m not so sure, but it’s definitely a beautiful artwork:
From the Reno Gazette-Journal:
“Most people have no realization that groups are starting on anything yet and think, ‘Oh, yeah, Burning Man. Throw it all together in a couple of weeks in July,’ ” carpenter Bill Tubman said. “We started (on Embrace) in October, and that’s true of most of the really big projects.”
…The Pier Group’s 2014 Burning Man project, called “Embrace,” is now in its third month of the building process at the Generator art and community space warehouse in Sparks. It started as a concept and drawing of two androgynous figures, an alpha and omega, wrapped in an embrace.
Before it could move into the next stage, the Pier group knew it needed the analysis of a professional because of the scope and size of the 70-foot-tall, wooden sculptures they wanted to build.
Engineer Jared Krupa of K2 Engineering and Structural Design took the project on a volunteer basis.
He said he was brought on the project when a Pier Group member brought the “Embrace” design plans to the university in hope of finding an engineer to consult with the group on it. As a timber engineering instructor at the University of Nevada, Reno, and a six-year Burning Man veteran, he was interested.
“There is a very intimate relationship in the beginning with the design process,” Krupa said. “In the beginning, we had some issues, but there is a lot of shaping in the design process. Even though there aren’t building codes at Burning Man, we have to factor in the elements, like the wind. It’s up to us to form a support system to keep it stable.”
The structure will now be built with water tower engineering, posts anchored to the ground and at the elbows and guy wires, tensioned cables that add stability to a structure, from various points on the structures. There will be support platforms inside with baring supports and people can walk around on platforms via stairs.
Krupa said the alterations create a support system to keep it stable and safe. The safety of the project is his first concern.
“I will be there from the beginning until it burns,” Krupa said. “It’s construction and just like in the real world, you run into issues that need to be dealt with and solved. Out there (on playa) it will have issues and I will be doing inspections, walking the project, and if I don’t get the warm and fuzzies, I won’t be involved. My wife and mom are going to be walking through this.”
Project carpenters Tubman and Bernie Beauchamp said they have already run into some snags in the building process.
The build began with the heads of the figures and Tubman said there were some miscalculations with the first head, the omega. He said there could be various issues because they are working with square wood and trying to make a head.
“This will be the biggest thing I’ve worked on,” Tubman said. “Another Burning Man project, the Trojan Horse, was a pretty complex, with a lot of geometric stuff, but this is even much more so. Big is not a problem; you can build a skyscraper out of wood. The issue with this is that there is nothing straight, square, flat or vertical.”
The project build is a giant undertaking and will require as many hands as possible. Tubman said that currently there are five to six people who can look at plans and know what needs to be done versus volunteers who are showing up saying, “Yes, I will help you do anything.”
Beauchamp said volunteers are welcome and it doesn’t depend on what they might know or what skills they have. He said they take time to try and train them to mark and cut or drive a forklift, and then they can be counted on to assist in more skilled areas as time goes on.
What do you think, Burners?
About the Pier Crew
In 2012, The Pier Crew worked for months to bring you La Llarona, an 88ft Spanish Galleon crashed into a 130ft pier.