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Built to burn: The best Burning Man temples

Published 7:57 PM ET, Tue January 30, 2018
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French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani has designed the central temple for this year's Burning Man, a 10-day festival dedicated to community in Nevada's Black Rock Desert. Galaxia represents a giant galaxy. Each spiral that stems from the center is an access point, intended as a departure from traditional religious structures that usually have one entrance. Mamou-Mani is not religious, but through the temple he wants to create a spiritual space that is not confined to a specific religion. Courtesy Mamou-Mani
An aerial shot of Black Rock City, where Burning Man takes place each year. The horseshoe-shaped city houses over 70,000 visitors for the nine-day event. The settlements lie around the edge, the Man effigy that is burned at the end of the week stands in the center, and the temple is positioned at the opening of the semi-circle -- the last man-made structure before the expanse of desert beyond. Courtesy Scott London
Designed by Marisha Farnsworth, Steve Brummond and Mark Sinclair, the 2017 temple was made from 100 dead trees to represent the 100 million trees that died in California's forests from drought and diseases between 2010 and 2016. Courtesy Leori Gill
The large timbers of 2017's temple were assembled to create a delicate, interwoven structure that was 150 feet wide. The latticed wood created patterned shadows, while the focus of the central space was a void in the spire where the sunlight shone into. @curtissimmons
David Best, the architect behind nine Burning Man temples and leader of the Temple Crew (a group of volunteers who help to build the structures), designed the 2016 temple. It was 100 feet tall and built from scrap wood, featuring intricately carved designs inspired by traditional places of worship. Courtesy @curtissimmons
Designed by Jazz Tigan, the lobed spire at the opening of 2015's Temple of Promise was 97-feet high, while the tail of the building curled inwards around an open-air grove with bare trees. Courtesy Leori Gill
Visitors could write messages on strips of white cloth and tie them to the trees in the center of the Temple of Promise. The structure, without a central altar, was a departure from traditional Burning Man temples, and intended as a path rather than a destination. @curtissimmons
The Temple of Grace was another David Best creation. Designed in a classic style with a large dome, it emphasized the spirit of community. Courtesy @curtissimmons
Gregg Fleishman designed the Temple of Whollyness using sacred mathematical proportions. It is crafted out of wooden pieces that interlock without nails or glue. Its name derives from the concept that spirituality is a balance between three states of mind -- to be holy, holey, or wholly present.
Courtesy @curtissimmons
The theme for this year's Burning Man was "Fertility 2.0." So David Best's Temple of Juno was aptly named after the Roman goddess of marriage and childbirth, and the protectress of women. Best's design returned to a more traditional temple style. Courtesy David Best Temple Crew
The Temple of Transition's three-tiered central tower was 120 feet tall and connected by bridges to the five hexagonal towers surrounding it. Courtesy Dmitry Sumin
The Temple of Forgiveness was another creation from Best and the Temple Crew. The intricately cut and layered wood was reminiscent of an Asian pagoda. Courtesy David Best Temple Crew
Temple of Stars, by David Best and the Temple Crew, was a quarter of a mile long and almost 120 feet tall. Courtesy David Best Temple Crew
Visitors could walk along the The Temple of Stars' bridges and leave memorials and messages inside it. Courtesy David Best Temple Crew
The Temple of Tears was designed by David Best and the Temple Crew in 2001 -- the year that the temple tradition really took hold. By the end of the week-long event, prayers and messages were written all over the structure, before it was burned. Courtesy David Best Temple Crew