Burning Man Festival calls out to urban designers

The Black Rock City Ministry of Urban Planning has put a call out to urban designers to reimagine the Burning Man Festival’s temporary city design.

From the Series

At the end of August more than 70 000 people gather in the middle of the Nevada desert for the annual Burning Man Festival. Since the inaugural burning of a wooden effigy in 1986, the festival has become renowned for its art, creativity and unusual economics. But underneath the bedlam and burning, there is a serious level of thought and design that go into the infrastructure of Black Rock City (the festival’s Nevada-based temporary municipality), especially as the festival grows.

Last week the Black Rock City Ministry of Urban Planning (BRCMUP) put out a call to urban designers to enter a competition that reimagines the layout of Black Rock City. The competition is open to designers and thinkers around the world and asks that the pentagonal shape of the event, with the Man and the Temple as its central focus, remain.

Initial overviews of ideas will be subject to public vote before the 10 finalists will go into the street level detail of their ideas.

Registration is currently open and entries of overview plans can be submitted from October to 31 December 2015. The second stage will run from January to May 2016. The winning design will be presented by BRCMUP to the Burning Man organisers for consideration.

While the official festival organisers have claimed to be interested in the ingenuity of the designs that are submitted, they have reserved to the right to commit to any redesign at all.  The designs that are collected throughout the competition will be turned into a reference book for organisers of regional festivals (which take place across five continents), from ideas for street lamps to whole burner-city designs. 

Burning Man founder Larry Harvey was a speaker at Design Indaba Conference 2015. You can watch his full conference talk and an exclusive video interview with Harvey on Design Indaba. 

Watch the Talk with Larry Harvey