281_Marco Nieto: Ashes to Ashes

Marco Nieto from Ann Arbor, Michigan: “I am currently a graduate architecture student at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. I approach design with the idea that it should first focus on the human experience and how spaces can become a reflection and manifestation of the user's identity.”


Website: http://marcoanieto.com

University: University of Michigan

Professor(s): Neal Robinson


Name of Project: Ashes to Ashes

Project Description: For 32 years, Burning Man has created a temporary sanctuary for those looking for an escape. The experiences that become manifested there, however, are permanent. All moments exist for the rest of eternity to those who witnessed it, and remain forever unknown to those not in attendance. There are no decaying structures locked in a storage unit that are only a mere shadow of their former self. Everything that happens in that hallowed desert playa is absolute, finite, and fleeting.


For 32 years, Burning Man has created a cathartic experience out of immolating spiritual and human structures. Intricate and thoughtful temples are created with the sole purpose of destruction at the end of the timeline, touching as many people’s lives as possible before it goes up in flame...however, what happens to the ashes? The flickering particles that blow away in the wind and mix with the sand, signifying the end of the spiritual adventure and a return home. Where do they land? How much has accumulated? And what rises from their demise?


My proposal seeks to create a permanent and spiritual fixture in the fabric of the ever-changing and ethereal festival that is Burning Man, reinventing its identity. This will be done by integrating the process and materiality of ash, utilizing its sustainable potential and intimate meaning to those who participate to create a new program that melds industry and institution, creating a familiar yet foreign sight in the middle of the desert.


Instagram Username: @m_nieto24