An Architect In Support of An Artist

ross asselstineThe Temple of Descendants is no more. Here is the project organizer Ross Asseslstine, talking about the engineering and architecture that goes into the Temple design, less than a month ago. Ironically, he begins his lecture with disparaging comments about David Best‘s engineering capability without him.

As bizarre as it seems that Burning Man would announce the Temple before closing the deal for it, it seems even more bizarre that Ross would be out in the community giving lectures about it to colleges, while still trying to agree on terms with BMOrg. He seems like someone passionate about what he’s doing, we hope that he will continue to contribute to the Burner community in the future.


14 comments on “An Architect In Support of An Artist

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  3. If anyone should be hurt from a failure of the Temple, either the owner or the architect (licensed in Nevada) would be at risk, possibly both. Clearly the “owner” would include the artist, but with all the BOrg claims on the Temple and it’s design, they might be drawn in. (As they say: name everyone possibly involved in the lawsuit and let the judge sort it out.) I wonder if the BOrg agreement for the Temple includes the involvement and stamped drawings from a NV architect. Wonder what E&O insurance requirements might be included.

    And if it does not require stapled drawings, and the Temple gets by in a loophole in the NV construction law as a “temporary structure,” I wonder if the law might be changed, for “protection of the public health and safety” for future such public structures.

    Another possibly interesting aspect of the BOrg farce. Hope no one gets hurt.

    • I believe this was the problem with the one time they held it on private land (1997)…suddenly, issues of building code and temporary structures came to the fore. Insurance was mentioned as a requirement in the recent Pershing settlement, I wonder if BMOrg are trying to shift this responsibility to the artists/builders to save their precious money. I find it hard to believe that Otto “Von Danger” could get insurance 2 years ago for Burn Wall Street, but Ross Asselstine got knocked back.

      • Architect E&O insurance is down to two companies at my last update, with rather non-competitve rates and terms. A non-architect getting general, rather than professional liability insurance, would pay a fraction of the amount. But that means that they don’t have an architect’s stamped drawings for the structure, so it not falling down is only conjecture.

        The reason any public building you walk into does not fall down is that the local building code requires a state-licensed architect provide the design as drawings and specs bearing that professional’s stamp. Many building owners further require E&O insurnace since they want some backup against any legal liability if the building fails, since the architect is acting as their agent in the design. The Temple could be an end-run around all this, by the BOrg not contracting with an architect, and thus not having any such liability backup. Could be that this one time the artist WAS an architect, who thus had impuned professional liability, whose E&O insurnace underwriter would not give a pass but an expensive rider to do the Temple.

        IF this is the case, and their “solution” is to just not contract with an architect to avoid the cost of the E&O insurance, they are just not getting the E&O insurnace. An artist’s general liability insurnance is not at all the same in cost or coverage. If someone is hurt or killed by a failure of the Temple, there will be no E&O insurance company lawyers to tap. In all probability the artist’s general liability insurnace will simply say: not covered, read your policy, have a nice day. It would all fall back to the BOrg general liability policy, any attendee hold harmless not withstanding. And we have seen how nice the BOrg has been treated by the local courts, so I would bet that the rat’s nest of non-arms-length connections between all those LLCs would be an easy corporate veil to pierce – too many owners and managing partners in common under a single, common purpose. That would be quite a show! 🙂

    • there is a lot of sense in what you’re saying here…except, from Ross’s lecture to Academy of Arts, it sounds like he’s been the architect of the Temple for more than a decade. So what’s the new surprise that needed negotiation?

      • Surprise? The contract being with him directly this time. Giving advice is one thing, but unless he provided stamped drawings before, his impuned professional liability was conjecture. No conjecture when you are contracted to do “the design,” and no stamped drawings required – it is obviously “your” design, and you are an architect.

      • Or it could just be that the BOrg wanted a lot more insurnance coverage, either in policy amount or scope. All to protect their new BM assets, as you suggested.

  4. I think you need to correct this Zos. Watched the whole lecture and this was from over a year ago since the 2012 was referred to a project finished a few months ago. It does open your eyes and make you scratch your head considering he was the man to bring David Best’s visions to reality, the voice of reason, and yet he could not get it worked out with BMOrg. Maybe his quick comment at 1:12 where he questions how can a photographer copywrite a picture that took less than a second to take of an object that someone else spent 500 hours to design and build.

    • where do you get that it’s from 2012? YouTube says April 22, 2014. So far I have watched 25 minutes of it, not sure if I am going to see the rest…my comments are about his opening remarks in the first 5 minutes or so. Even if it was from 2012, he is still criticizing David Best’s abilities to engineer these type of structures without his help. Which is kind of ironic given the current circumstances. We will see if David’s latest Temple collapses without Ross’s input…somehow, I doubt it.

  5. Ross Asselstine, and others, penning a contract fair towards the awesome artists, view my comments on the post of Temple Debacle Highlights Hypocrisy. Are you of the knowledge that the BRC LLC, or the 501(c)3 Burning Man Project, licensed imagery of your art of 2014 towards the for profit Decommodification LLC, owned by Larry and crew? And, the new bylaws of the Burning Man Project keep disclosures of conflict of interest, and knowledge of payments of cash towards their pockets, mostly hidden from the donors of cash, labour, and art?

    I do not comprehend this subject. View my comments upon the post Temple Debate Highlights Hypocrisy, click on the links, and, perchance, might you desire to do so, post knowledgeable commentary.

    • I can’t help but feel a tinge of pain when I see what the community has become. I was there the year the temple came to be. We have lost much…

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