Dome with cones

Burning Man may be one of the most famous art festival on Earth, but it's also one of the best places on the planet to check out fascinating temporary residential structures. From domes to tents to teepees to hexayurts to parachutes, the event's participants build--and take down--almost anything you can imagine. And a lot you can't.


In his new book, "Black Rock City, NV: The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man," photographer Philippe Glade shows off some of the best and most interesting structures to grace the playa--the name for the Black Rock Desert, where Burning Man is held each summer--since he began attending the event in 1996. Glade told CNET that while most Burners spend their time wandering the open playa checking out art, he prefers to spend his days--and nights--walking the streets and shooting photos of the crazy places that people have built--and in which they live for a week in the desert.


These structures need to provide shelter from the brutal sun, but they also need to be able to stand up to extreme winds. Protection from hard-core dust storms is a bonus as well. And if on top of that your home can be attractive, whimsical, and comfortable, well, you might see a picture of it in Glade's new book.


This is a geodesic dome Glade photographed that's covered top to bottom in traffic cones.

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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

Bubble dome

Geodesic domes are one of the most popular structures at Burning Man, but they come in a wide variety of designs. Many are the same, but this one is unique. It is covered with bubble insulation, presumably to keep its interior safe from dust--though some certainly got in--and also to keep it cool during the day.
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

Tiny's Lounge Camp

Glade's book only covers his explorations around Burning Man from 1996 through 2010. But this structure is from Burning Man 2011 and is featured on his blog. This is the sun-splashed, gorgeous interior of Tiny's Lounge Camp, a structure made from "one mast, [six] poles, and a lot of fabric."
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

Temple of Joy

Although not a residence, David Best's Temple of Joy, seen here at dusk during Burning Man 2002, is one of the most striking structures ever built for the event. Best's Temples--which are actually memorials on which Burners leave their memories--became a Burning Man mainstay, and while he no longer builds them, there is a new Temple every year, always with a different look.
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

Sparseland

This is Sparseland, which demonstrated the virtue of shelters built using tension. According to Glade, it had "a very elegant shape with good airflow and wind resistance thanks to a double PVC polyester textile."
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

Hammock Hangout

Commonly used for shade at Burning Man, parachutes offer both cover and airflow. This is 2003's Hammock Hangout by Paul de Jong. It featured 50 hammocks under 7,900 square feet of shade. The center pole kept the parachute from sagging.
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

Monkey Hut

Glade calls this Quonset hut, made with PVC pipes and tarp, a monkey hut. This is Automatic Subconscious camp, at Burning Man 2009. PVC Quonset huts are another common choice for shade and shelter on the playa, given that they can hold up quite well against heavy winds, yet also allow a decent air flow and open space for things like couches and tables. They can also be linked together, as seen here.
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

Icosa Village

Glade wrote in his book that these icosahedrons, from Burning Man 2002, were made for Icosa Village out of recycled cardboard by Sanford Ponder. They were created originally as emergency relief shelters for disaster areas, Glade wrote.
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

Camouflage

Another popular shade system at Burning Man--as in the military and elsewhere--is desert-grade camouflage netting. Here, Glade wrote, the effect is maximized using butterfly net spreaders.
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

The Lost Penguin

A favorite night-time destination for many Burners over many years, The Lost Penguin offered refuge--and chocolate. This camp is one of many examples on the playa of comfortable--and shaded--space made out of linking several standard temporary carports together.
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

Alternative Energy Zone fabric

Many people and camps at Burning Man create shade structures and common structures using some form of fabric. This is the entrance to the Alternative Energy Zone, which was built using a "special shade cloth porous enough for ventilation." According to Glade, the fabric is called Aluminet, and was originally used in the farming business because it offered different levels of shade and strength.
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

Center Camp Cafe

Perhaps the largest structure at Burning Man each year, this is the Center Camp Cafe. It is almost certainly the space visited by the most Burners, in part because it is in the very middle of Center Camp, and because coffee and tea can be purchased there 24 hours a day. These of course, are the only things that can be bought at Burning Man, other than ice. The cafe structure has 38,000 square feet of shaded space, and Glade said it is the largest tensile cable structure in the world.
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

The Porch

This house is actually an art car, offering a publicly accessible porch on one side and a private room on the other.
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

The Enclave

This is The Enclave, seen during Burning Man 2011.
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

The Pagoda

Some people go to the trouble of erecting complex wooden structures, like The Pagoda, seen here.
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

Square door Hexayurt

The Hexayurt has become an increasingly popular structure on the playa since, Glade writes, Vinay Gupta first began using them at Burning Man 2002. There are now dozens of them each year, including some with interesting variations, like this square door.
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

The Embassy

Another example of a structure made with PVC pipe is this dome, called The Embassy, from Burning Man 2003. Created by Clif Cox, the space had four bays that enabled all kinds of group-use space.
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

Bath and Bubbles

This is Bath and Bubbles camp, another one that makes smart use of temporary car ports linked together.
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

Stretch fabric

This is a simple and elegant way to provide shade for a tent at Burning Man (and elsewhere, of course). There's nothing complicated about this--it's nothing but stretch fabric, poles, and tennis balls. While it won't do anything to keep dust out of the tent, it will provide shade nearly all day as well as essential ventilation.
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:

Mal-Mart

There's always a few large structures made using scaffolding. Glade writes, "Familiar urban shapes, scaffoldings with fabric skin create their own skyline and stand out as...useful landmarks [at Burning Man]. To avoid the 'massive block' effect, the creators now use translucent fabric to showcase the structural frame."
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Photo by: Philippe Glade/The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man / Caption by:
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