Client: Laurence Renzo Verbeck
Location: Black Rock City, NV, United States
Completion date: 2022
The Empyrean Temple, designed by architect Renzo Verbeck, was installed at Burning Man 2022. Created out of wood, the 8 star blades, or canopies which make up the mass of Empyrean Architecture, are dressed in tessellation pattern latticework. In ancient cosmologies the Empyrean was the place in the highest heaven, a sacred place which was supposed to be occupied by the element of fire. The way in which the Empyrean Temple was crafted allows visitors to discover their own spiritual path of meaning as they traverse through the experiential space. This piece is an excellent hybrid of sculpture and liturgical architecture, harnessing the power of universal sacred geometry in the shape of a compass rose beacon, a monumental construct of light and shadow.
The goal of this project was to create an experiential artwork for the public art space that is Black Rock City, Nevada during Burning Man 2022. Every year a Temple is built as a sacred space for the Burning Man community to come together and reflect on the past, present, and future, without being tied to any specific religion or belief system. It is an inclusive, spiritual, and safe space where people can experience a range of emotions and be themselves. Building the Temple is a community effort, and once it is built, it belongs to everyone. In 2022, Empyrean Temple was selected to be this transcendent space. The only official ritual associated with the Temple is the burning of it on the last night of the event. To the community, Empyrean Temple offers the healing properties of its central, eternal flame: reflection, resolution, release and renewal.
The Rbhu Engineering team worked closely with Renzo to ensure a number of considerations were met including but not limited to:
-The large-scale quality of this architectural space required an overall design that was structurally sound while ultimately remaining a temporary burned installation.
-70-foot tall wood structure with a large compression ring supported the 55ft canopy/flame.
-The 8 star blades, or canopies, the mass of Empyrean Architecture, are dressed in tessellation pattern latticework, transforming from solid at their outer tip to open radiating and deconstruction, disgorging their energy to their skyward center.