ParametricArchitecture

Galaxia, Mamou-Mani’s Twisting Timber Structure For Burning Man

Galaxia
© Photo by Jamen Percy

Galaxia, designed by architect Arthur Mamou-Mani, forms a converging spiral of 20 timber trusses leading to a single point in the sky. A massive 3D-printed mandala lies at Galaxia’s heart which serves as an excellent space for healing, exchanging emotional experiences, forging deep bonds with oneself and others. The temple enables the visitors to process the feelings of loss and grief and link them to everyone else’s tragedies and hopes.


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© Photo by Alex Medina

Galaxia spans a clear 50m and climbs to 27m with no interior support. The triangular trusses of the design span vastly on the ground to form a sequence of several spiraling routes leading to the structure’s center. The gaps between the truss members are initially significant, but as visitors make their way to the center, the timber modules lift and grow thinner and thinner.

Galaxia
© Photo by Jamen Percy

The timber space structure was then subdivided into distinct triangles to be manufactured at workshops and assembled. Each truss of the 3d timber structure leans on the one next to and below it. The radiating eccentric design required a central compression ring truss at the bottom of the upper crown and structural steel anchors at the lateral level to prevent global twists and take the lateral thrust.

© Photo by McKenzie-Genin

If you like to learn more about designing modular, parametric, and environmental architectural systems which benefit from numerous wood forms for construction, you can watch the recordings of Eco-Parametric Structures / Studio Mamou-Mani powered by PAACADEMY.

Galaxia
© Photo by Julia Wolf

After being chosen by the Burning Man Arts organization, the project was erected by 140 volunteers in 22 days. It served as the most important location during the 2018 festival. The festival’s theme was “i-Robot,” referring to Isaac Asimov’s 1950s book. Galaxia got its name from the author’s 1982 sequel, Foundation’s Edge, which portrayed Gaia’s planet where all living things are connected. Just like stars, planets, black holes, and the movement that binds us together in a whirling galaxy of dreams, Galaxia honors hope in the unknown.

Galaxia
© Photo by Jamen Percy

Finally, as the engineering collaborator of the Galaxia project, Stephen Melville (the founding director of Format Engineers) will be delivering a lecture about digital optimization and fabrication at the Computational Design: NEXT 8.0 conference. If you like to delve into live presentations, tutorials, interactive Sessions with global frontiers, register for the Computational Design: NEXT 8.0 conference here.

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