“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I will learn.” Xun Kuang (312-230 BC)
WeWantToLearn.net at Burning Man 2015 – A video by Freddie Barrie
“We believe that Architecture should be fun and in giving our students the opportunity to build projects in the real world. We want them to dare to be naïve, curious, and enthusiastic, to think like makers and to act like entrepreneurs, creating an architecture of joy. Burning Man is the playground for our dreams.” Toby Burgess and Arthur Mamou-Mani, DS10 Studio Leaders, University of Westminster
Team: Toby Burgess and Arthur Mamou-Mani (tutors), Tobias Power (Designer of The Infinity Tree), Jon Leung (Designer of Bismuth Bivouac), Lorna Jackson (Designer of reflection), Maialen Calleja, Andrei Jipa, Josh Potter, Aaron Porterfield, Aigli Tsirogianni, Alex Fotherby, Andrew K Green, Ben Brakspear, Ben lloyd Goldstein, Charlotte Chambers, Deepak Krasner, Eira Mooney, Eliana Stenning, Elizabeth Ripps, Felix Thiodet, Garis Iu, Jack Hardy, Jasmine Low, Jon Goodbun, Lianne Clark, Maria Sobrino, Martin Brien, Matthew Lee, Michelle Tanya Barratt, Neale Shutler, Phil Olivier, Ricky Chandi, Sarah Stell, Toby Plunkett, Tom Jelley, Elan laplain, Innes Shelley, Jake Spruyt, James Abbott, Jasper Sauve, Joe Leach, Julian Sauve, Klina Jordan, Joshua de Matteo, Maria Vergopoulou, Kris Leung, Ben Metcalfe-Penny, Willem Ossorio, Sebastian Sauve, Tim Hornsby, Tim Martin
Engineers: Format Engineering (The Infinity Tree and Bismuth Bivouac) Price & Myers (Reflection)
Special Thanks: BettieJune Scarborough, Ben Stoelting, Brody Scotland, DaveX, Harry Charrington, Thomas Ermacora, Betty Lam and to all our Kickstarter Backers.
A quick update from Burning Man’s dusty “Playa” on which three Diploma Studio 10 students have built their academic projects together with a team of 60 volunteers from the University of Westminster and beyond. You can follow our Instagram account for more pictures of the journey and we will post more details and pictures on our return. Thank you so much for your support and hope that the projects will inspire you!
We had our final crit today! Great projects concluding our brief2B:Realize. Here are couple pictures. Thank you very much to our external critiques Daewha Kang (Associate Zaha Hadid Architects), Lawrence Friesen (GenGeo), Stephen Melville (Director Ramboll UK), James Solly (Buro Happold), Michael Clarke and to our colleagues Anna Liu and Roberto Botazzi.
We’re back from the desert! Very proud to have completed two beautiful projects at the Burning Man festival 2013 with our DS10 students and guests from the Architectural Association, Columbia University and UCL.
Credits to the team:
Team: Toby Burgess and Arthur Mamou-Mani a.k.a. Ratchet and Baby Cup (Project Directors), Thanasis Korras (Designer of Fractal Cult), Georgia Rose Collard-Watson (Designer of Shipwreck), Jessica Beagleman (Food & Meals), Natasha Coutts (Camp and Rentals), Sarah Shuttlesworth, Andy Rixson, Luka Kreze, Tim Strnad, Philippos Philippidis, Nataly Matathias, Marina Karamali, Harikleia Karamali, Antony Joury, Emma Whitehead, , Jo Cook, Caitlin Hudson, Dan Dodds and Chris Ingram.
Special Thanks: BettieJune, Ben Stoelting, Kevin Meers, Caroline Holmes, Chloe Brubaker, Papa Bear,
Photos by Jo Cook, Arthur Mamou-Mani, Toby Burgess, Luka Kreze, Thanasis Korras, Antony Joury.
Here are couple more pictures of the finished projects:
Some images of the construction of Shipwreck, from the collection of the pieces all the way to the assembly
Images of the construction process of Fractal Cult until the burn:
Finally, how we made our camp look more like a home and less like a refugee camp:
A beautiful view of the festival itself at sunrise:
Here is a text that we wrote about the experience:
Diploma Studio 10:
Diploma Studio 10 at the University of Westminster is led by Toby Burgess and Arthur Mamou-Mani. They both believe that involvement is key to the process of learning and therefore always try to get their students to “get out and build” their designs in the real world. The studio starts the year with the study of systems, natural, mathematical and architectural systems of all sort, paired with intense software training in order to build up skills and a set of rules to design a small scale project which they will be able to build during a real event in the summer. Throughout the year, they build large scale prototypes and draw very accurate technical drawings, they also need to provide a budget and explain how it makes sense within the wider context of the festival, some of them will event start crowd-funding campaign to self-finance the projects. Our ultimate goal is to give them an awareness of entrepreneurship in Architecture and how to initiate projects as this is for us the best way to fight unemployment in our profession. Burning Man and the 10 Principles:
The Burning Man festival takes place every summer in Black Rock desert, Nevada. It is a “participant-led” festival in which the activities are initiated by the people attending it. There are around 60,000 “burners” every year building a giant temporary city in which they create a social experiment which follows the 10 principles of Burning Man. They conclude the festival by burning a large sculpture of a Man.
What interested Toby and Arthur are the 10 principle which guide the “burners”: Radical Self-Reliance, Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Leaving No trace, to name a few. Designing with these rules in mind help students understand basic issues of sustainability. Designing for Burning Man also helps the students to design with “playfulness” in mind, as all the structures have to be climbable and interactive. We are not the only one inspired by these rules, Sergei Brin, co-founder of Google, asks all his staff to follow the principles when they come up with new ideas. The Story:
On our first year at Westminster we found out that our student could submit their Burning Man proposals and receive a grant from the organizers. After receiving 20 submissions from the same school, the organizers were very intrigued and decided to contact us. The director of the Art Grant told us that she loved the project but that all of them were just not possible in the context. She decided to visit us in London to explain what we could do to submit better projects the following year which we did. On the second run, the festival chose two projects, Shipwreck by Georgia Rose Collard-Watson and Fractal Cult by Thanasis Korras.
These two projects are representative of the way we run our studio: Thanasis looked at Fractal on Brief01 and Georgia looked at ways to bend and assemble strips of wood together. They both explored these systems before submitting a project with a very strong narrative which fitted perfectly the burning man philosophy. Thanasis linked his Fractal to the symbol of “Merkaba” whereas Georgia told the story of a shipwreck which offered shelter from the dust storms.
Once the project got chosen, we partnered with an engineer, Ramboll and started researching for suppliers and fabrication facilities in the USA. We took the 3D files from concept all the way parametric models for fabrication. We started a Gantt chart with every step to take from rental of 24ft truck, collection of item all the way to demolition.
One of the main aspect that required a lot of planning was the camp. We had to plan every meal and food that would not perish under the extreme condition. We also found a way to rent a whole camp equipment from past burners. On site:
The team grew little by little, many of our student could not afford the trip or could not take such a long time off so we asked around if anyone else would like to join us and thanks to our blog posts and active social networking online, students from the Architectural Association, Columbia or UCL started showing interest and joined the team.
Our first surprise on site was the power of the dust storm. One of our Yurt flew away and some of us got stuck in different places of the site seeking shelter. We were terrorised. Sleeping in tents was also extremely hard as you would be awaken by temperatures approaching 40degrees celcius, at the end of the construction, a lot of us would sleep in the foam hexayurts in which we were storing equipment at first. We learned so much.
Thank you so much everyone – We received funding onKickstarter! You can still help us by donating on our Paypal button:
The past couple weeks since our last updates were very busy. We have sent all the fabrication files to our contact next to San Francisco. To make sure the files were alright we had several meetings with our engineers and made a lot of physical tests.
The team has shrunk so if you are keen to join us from the 18th August until the 6th September,you can email us at info@WeWantToLearn.net