2015 Temple Design Revealed

promise in the desert2015 temple coppertemple model
It’s the Temple of Promise. In the midst of a carnival of chumps, suckers, and rubes. Nestled within the 100-foot high Temple structure will be a very Bohemian grove of trees.

temple of promise trees

Looks like it should provide great shelter in a dust storm, especially with that copper cowling. I think it will sound amazing from the inside.

From the Temple of Promise Facebook page:

The Dreamers Guild is a new collective of builders, artists, caretakers, and dreamers. We are honored that our first project as a team will be to build the Temple for Burning Man in 2015. Temple of Promise is brought to you by dreamers including:

  • Jazz Tigan: Artist/Designer
    Dan Swain: Architect
    Jason DeCook “Woodshop”: Build Lead
    Todd Evans: Project Manager
    April M. Jones: Communications Lead
    Gloria Beck: Volunteer Lead
    Douglas Smith and Jordan Rose: Architect Design Team
    Mark Day: Documentarian/Videographer
    Leori Gill: Bookkeeper, Photographer
    Scooter Wilson: Lighting Team
    Dylan Modell: Crew Support
    Communications and Fundraising Team: Dave Slater, Elaine Noble, Melissa Kirk, Sharma Hendel, more.
    Kevin Byall: Grove Lead
    Kenji Aragaki: Fire Pits Lead
    —————————————————————The Temple is a Journey
    Everyone who comes to Black Rock City is on a journey. We were inspired by the idea that the Temple could support, enrich, and deepen this journey through its very design. To this end, our offering first presents an immense skyward reaching spire but immediately invites you deeper, offering a transformative path as it gradually twists and tapers to an imminently human scale.

    The Temple Serves
    Our offering provides solemn spaces for individual contemplation as well as the
    capacity to accommodate larger gatherings of both remembrance and celebration. Traditions and rituals make the Temples of Burning Man truly singular – they are secular, ephemeral, and defined by the participation of their visitors. Our offering recognizes and cherishes these elements while seeking to interpret in a unique way.

    The Temple Listens
    The Burning Man community engages deeply with its Temple, coming to this place of sanctity with many different needs, carrying many different burdens. We view the Temple experience as a conversation with the space and feel the primary role of the Temple is not to speak but to listen. This guiding principle has been a touchstone informing every aspect of our design process.

Matthais Pliessnig’s designs inspired the Temple Crew

 From Voices of Burning Man:

For four years in a row, the temples of Black Rock City have been palatial, romantic, classical in design. Time’s up. Some members of the 2015 Temple crew worked on the enchantingly abstract, boundary-pushing Temple of Flux five years ago, and they have brought that same fluid, organic inspiration to this year’s design: the Temple of Promise.


The Temple of Promise is a guide. It’s a calming hand, and it’s a listening ear. Nestled in its center is a grove of trees. It’s no tower or pyramid or other such shape dictated by logic alone. It is no less a temple for its lifelike forms. It is more.

Scattered amidst the flow of the Temple area, wooden sculptures shaped like stones form a soft boundary. The tapering spiral of the main structure provides shelter and quiet. The lobed spire at its opening will tower 97 feet high. The tail of the building curls into a circle around the open-air grove, a container well suited for gatherings. The trees will be bare at the beginning of the week, but participants will leave their messages on strips of white cloth, which they will hang from the trees like the leaves of a weeping willow.


Here’s some of the previous work of this Temple Crew that members of this Temple Crew have participated in as part of other crews:

Image: Neil Girling/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Temple of Flux, 2010. Image: Neil Girling/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Trojan Horse, 2010. Image: Sharona Gott/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Trojan Horse, 2011. Image: Sharona Gott/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Image: The Tablehopper/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Anubis, 2012. Image: The Tablehopper/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Alien Siege Machine, 2014. Image: John Tock/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Alien Siege Machine, 2014. Image: John Tock/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Immediacy in a Dust Storm

A guest post here by reader Jillian Corey:


Immediacy In A Dust Storm At Burning Man

Just like the postal service (neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night), we play through snow and sleet and fog and rain… well, actually we are playing in the midst of a dust storm.

But as the super fine dust particles whirl through the air, lodging themselves in our hair, eyes, the corners of our pursed mouths, coating our bows and strings, the Playa Pops orchestra plays on.

We are far from the concert halls some of the more seasoned musicians may be accustomed to and even farther away from the dust-free homes of those of us who only occasionally pull our instruments out to pick out a Bach sonata or a Beethoven symphony. The dust we usually wipe from our instruments comes from disuse — not desert.

But now we raise our bows and dive into the Brandenberg Concerto #3 with vim and vigor, both in spite of the elements and perhaps even to spite them.

photo: John Goodman

photo: John Goodman

“Is that the best you’ve got?” our bold fortes and clipped staccatos seem to ask, “bring it on!” The wind whips around our modest shelter, the Temple of Grace, an elegant structure made from wood laser cut to the point that it resembles lace — simultaneously strikingly beautiful and seemingly immeasurably fragile.

Many of the musicians are missing, lost in the dust storm, accurately called “whiteouts” for their sudden appearance and vision-destroying opacity. A cellist staggers in, midway through the performance, having gotten lost in the storm, only to have a string snap several songs later.

But what is a performance like this without the adversity, the struggle?

From the perspective of the random passerby, out of the dust floats the music of Beethoven. This does not seem possible, both because of its unlikely presence in the middle of a dust storm and its status as the first classical music presence at Burning Man, an event previously known for the thumping bass of electronic dance music.

Drawn in by our music, passersby shelter (somewhat) from the storm.

One of the 10 principles of Burning Man is “immediacy,” a rarely practiced skill in the real world, but perhaps one of the most intrinsic to the event. The festival’s website describes the principle of “immediacy” as follows:

“Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.”

This statement does not completely capture the concept of immediacy, but getting caught in a dust storm does, in its most visceral form. When you can’t see the hand in front of your face, there is nothing beyond the now, the immediate.

While not lethally dangerous, a dust storm causes almost all activity and future planning to grind to a halt, forcibly driving us into the moment.

So many times in the default world, we longingly moon over other people’s travel photos, saying “gee, I’d love to go there someday.” An idle run-in with an old friend elicits a hopeful “we should hang out sometime.” Despite the best of intentions, neither these desires may come to pass.

The audience huddles around us, either there by choice or by happenstance, breaking the circle only after the last bar is played — then swept away by the wind.

As the wind finally begins to die down and the dust settles, audience members and musicians take the opportunity to clamber onto art cars or pedal away on bicycles, scattering back to their respective camps.

Even at Burning Man, an event almost wholly divorced from a conventional concept of time or schedules, people have found routines, places to be, things to do, and will soon be returning to them.

But for a moment, everyone stood still, and just listened to the music.


Dear Guardians

A short film on the Temple and its Guardians

Since 2002, the Guardians have held an integral role at the Temple of Burning Man. They have remained largely invisible, holding space from the shadows. Until now.

Directed by VISION WEAVER ianmack.com
Music by HIATUS soundcloud.com/hiatus

Additional footage
MATIAS SEVEN CLOUDS vimeo.com/sevenclouds

Sound design by JEREMY THERRIEN

“The Temple rises apart from Black Rock City, an oasis of calm out in the deep playa that stands resolute, able to bear what participants bring and to be what we need at the moment we call on it.

Behind the Temple stands a group that has quietly watched over those structures each year since 2002. The main duty of the Temple Guardians is to protect the Temple and those who visit it. We abide with love for the Temple and everything that it represents.” – The Temple Guardians