Embrace Makes Pitch for Next Temple

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:


embrace rendering

From the Reno Gazette-Journal:

embrace 3d“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.” 

It will be bigger than the Trojan horse, and you’ll be able to walk through it before they burn it.

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.

It was created with love, passion, and talent by a team of friends with a single goal: to bring this gift to you.

Now that same team will be building another, even larger and greater creation. Please help us by being a part of bringing our latest gift, Embrace, to Black Rock City









If you’re in Reno, come and support their fund raiser on February 15

  • Artist contact: Ryan Ostler, salvageryryano@gmail.com
    Event contact: Lindsay Schaefer, lindsay.schaefer@gmail.com


    Reno, Nev. — Join some of Northern Nevada’s premiere artists on Feb. 15 for a night of music, food, performance art and an art auction at The Generator Gallery at 1240 Icehouse Ave. in Sparks.

    Buy it or Burn it will feature many local artists’ works for auction, in which the bidder will decide the fate of the piece: to keep it or to burn it. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and the community burn will take place at approximately 10 p.m. All funds raised from the auction will benefit Embrace, a 70-foot tall people sculpture for Burning Man 2014.

    The Pier Group, led by Matt Schultz, commenced construction on Embrace in October 2013 at The Generator, Inc. in Sparks. The cathedral like sculpture will depict two people embracing from the waist up, an allusion to the relationships we encounter in our lives that help shape the way we live. Currently, The Pier Group has submitted an application as a contender for The Temple at Burning Man 2014.

    The evening will include aerial silks performances by Lina Maria from The Siren Society as well as independent artist Alexa Ray. Fondue will be donated by Wedge – A Cheese Shop in Reno, and sound will be provided from South Lake Tahoe based music collective Mindful Massive.


    The Pier Group out of Reno, Nev. previous Burning Man projects include The Pier, Pier 2 and The Ichthyosaur Puppet Project. Embrace will require over 100 people for on-playa site construction. The Generator, Inc., is a decommodified community arts and builder’s space in Reno.

8 comments on “Embrace Makes Pitch for Next Temple

  1. Pingback: Embrace Embrace | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. Pingback: Temple Deal Falls Through | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  3. Seems… kindof exclusionary.

    I would be upset if this was the temple. You wouldn’t see a temple made of 2 men in embrace.

    I don’t like it. Fine as an art piece. Bad as a temple

  4. I love this piece idea, and can’t wait to see it. Although I personally don’t think it works for the temple. My 2¢.

  5. I def agree with Cammi’s comment. No one really cares is the Temple is in theme. Burning Man is Burning Man regardless of the theme. I don’t remember seeing much Cargo Cult themed artwork on playa last year. I would love to see this as the Temple! Just looking at a rendering of it makes me smile, seeing this on playa would be amazing! It sends such a beautiful message and would encourage positivity.

  6. This would make such an amazing temple. Their idea is new, beautiful and I think it embodies the many embraces we share with loved ones in and around the temple. It is powerfully symbolic of all the love, tears, and intimacy shared there. This is the piece I am most excited to see on the playa this year!

  7. What it has to do with caravans and Arabian nights, I’m not so sure. What did a pyramid for cargo cult and an intricate 2012 temple have to do with the 2012 theme? answer nothing I don’t think a temple needs to be in theme the man does the temple, not so much.

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