Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Tiny Houses of Black Rock City: Metropolis

The theme of this year’s Burning Man was Metropolis, and the event’s temporary home of Black Rock City was buzzing with urban energy, wonderful, creative neighbors, and interesting camps.

Many of these camps had their own versions of tiny houses, and like last year’s post, I thought I would feature a few of my favorites.

This year, our neighborhood of 3:30 and Istanbul (see the Black Rock City map) was lucky to have the Neverwas Haul as a corner beacon. This “mutant vehicle” is styled as a steampunk Victorian house that you could actually live in. In Black Rock City, it’s helpful to camp near a larger structure so you can find your way back to your little home in the dark.

Next door to the Neverwas Haul was Michel Olson and Christy Horne with their handbuilt “turret” gypsy wagon named Sir James. This year, they created a shade shelter out of Sir James and their van with a tent on top for their teenage kids to sleep in. They spend most of their time as traveling storytellers, artists and metalworkers. They live for about 8 months out of the year in a “castle truck” they named Florence.

Last year, this gypsy wagon was unfinished. Now it has beautiful detailing and interior seating and sleeping areas.

Vintage trailers of all shapes, colors and sizes are very popular at Burning Man.

Elegant tents make wonderful shade shelters that stay nearly dust-free.

Domes are also successful shade structures, and many Burners love to pay homage to their mother country.

The group that sets up the raves every year, at the far end of the city, creates their own tipi village.

The Red Rooster Ranch might be a fun place to hang out during the heat.

How about staying for a week in a pink, metal tipi structure with a disco ball? (notice the “For Rent” sign?)

Or a tiny pink house on a big, blue truck?

Or a spaceship complete with a little, celestial visitor?

Black Rock City “houses” are created for maximum shade, comfort, humor and beauty. However, what impresses me most about these tiny shelters is the amount of work and ingenuity that goes into a design that really only lasts for a week. Each little home has to survive the city’s dust storms, brutal heat and 40 mph plus winds, but in addition to that they are also a welcoming sight in the otherwise inhospitable desert.

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]
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