Architecture, Art – At Burning Man 2022, Colorado architect and artist Laurence Renzo Verbeck created the Empyrean Temple, a monumental mystical timber shrine conceived as a place for contemplation and harmony. Located in an open desert area and illuminated in colored lights at nightfall, the 55ft tall timber shrine came in the shape of an eight-pointed star and, according to the festival’s tradition, was burnt to ashes.
- RELATED STORIES: Read more about Burning Man on Archipanic…
In ancient cosmologies and contemporary theologies, Empyrean is the region beyond the physical realm, the heaven of pure light, wisdom, and consciousness, and the birthplace of fire and dreams. From here, Laurence Renzo Verbeck and its team played with geometry and ancient symbolism to develop an octagonal design resembling a compass rose beacon.
Like a compass, the landmark Empyrean Temple oriented distant seekers beckoning them in on their quest for energy. Across cultures, the eight-pointed star geometry “is a symbol brought forward from our early human understanding of the intelligent order that underlies our universe.” Explained the temple’s team.
It “represents hope, abundance, transformation, direction, justice, balance of duality, and harmony between the profound and mundane, a sacred foundation activating the temple as a transformative healing portal.”
Burning Man visitors – a.k.a. burners – encountered an octagonal palisade of monumental portal gates. Passing through the portals, they were experientially compressed as they moved into the temple’s grounds.
Inside, the shrine was entirely dressed in tessellation pattern latticework providing shadow and ventilation. A flame shone in the central community gathering space. Around it, and tucked within the comforting safety of the eight canopies, eight different altars provided sanctuary, writing surfaces, and placement for offerings for seekers of any walk.
The overall feeling of the Empyrean Temple architecture is an intense desire for ascension, to embrace the multiverse, and elevate both physically and spiritually to a more conscious dimension. Leaving the temple, one could choose from eight nearly identical exits and be spun out to a new environment, a new perspective, a new universe.
All photos by Rand Larson.