FR-EE / Fernando Romero Enterprise: A holon (Greek: oλον, holon neutral form of oλος, holos “whole”) is something that is a whole as well as being a part of a larger system. It can be conceived as systems nested within each other. Every entity can be considered a holon, from a subatomic particle to the entire Universe. In the design concept for our proposal, the temple represents itself as the multiverse, a group of nested universes, a holon.
We designed an all-timber structure with the realization of creating a beautiful but raw and simple but complex interior space defined by a rational structure of 48 columns (trusses). The trusses meet at the top in compression rings (35), all of which are connected to 34 circles (horizontal members), each one representing one year of Burning Man’s existence. As burners approach the center, the structure appears lighter and slenderer towards the sky.
The circle symbolizes perfect order in the Universe and represents a whole. This is what prompted the circular plan of the Temple, which also opens towards the sky in a circle. The compression ring supporting the structure is reminiscent of one of the most powerful buildings of human civilization, Agrippa’s Pantheon in Rome. Space-time sustains the Universe and time is represented in the Temple´s vertical structure by 48 columns (twice the 24-hour cycle), which also connect to the geometrical setup of Black Rock City’s streets.
The Temple is a spiritual center in which to gather, meditate, reflect and pray; a place where Burners find a home for their griefs and joys, and practice their beliefs. We wanted to touch the souls of the people in Black Rock City, to surprise and fill them with beauty, space and light in a communal experience of the Earth, sky and Universe. The building is conceived to prompt a journey in space and time. When visitors enter the Temple, they will see a replica in the center, inside which will be a smaller replica, creating an understanding of the multiverse in which we co-exist. The whole experience will connect them with the unlimited dimensions within the Universe. As the replicas function as altars, there will be steps/ seats and niches around them. The steps become an encapsulating structure that protects the temple from its immediate surroundings. The structure itself will allow time to flow at each person’s own vital thinking pace, in communication with themselves and their loved ones.