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Burning Man and LAGI unveil best eco-friendly proposals for Fly Ranch

The Burning Man Project and the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) have announced the top 10 proposals in the LAGI 2020 Fly Ranch design challenge, a global ideas competition that invited innovators and creatives to reimagine an off-grid ranch in the Great Basin as a sustainable, year-round incubator for Burning Man culture. MIT designers Zhicheng Xu and Mengqi Moon He took top rank with their ‘Lodgers: Serendipity in the Fly Ranch Wilderness’ proposal, an eco-friendly design that combines high- and low-tech sustainable strategies while enriching Fly Ranch’s biodiverse landscape.

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Launched last January, the LAGI 2020 Fly Ranch design challenge drew nearly 200 entries from around the world that explored different ways of building sustainable infrastructure for Fly Ranch, a 3,800-acre property north of the annual Burning Man event in Black Rock City in northern Nevada. Unlike the temporary Burning Man metropolis, the Fly Ranch property will be a permanent, off-grid destination that hosts residencies, gatherings and various projects year-round. The Burning Man Project, which acquired the Fly Ranch site in 2016, teamed up with LAGI to source ideas for Fly Ranch’s foundational infrastructure that support the Burning Man Project’s 2030 sustainability goals for a post-carbon world.

Related: Recycled wind turbine blades proposed as a playscape for Burning Man

rendering of building with several arches
rendering of tall spiral building

The submitted proposals cover a wide variety of ideas from renewable energy infrastructure and systems for recycling natural resources to innovative, zero-emission construction methods and regenerative venues that promote scientific discovery and self-expression. After a multi-stage selection process, MIT designers Zhicheng Xu and Mengqi Moon He earned the highest score with ‘Lodgers: Serendipity in the Fly Ranch Wilderness’ thanks to its blend of site-sensitive solutions, educational focus and high- and low-tech off-grid systems. The self-sustaining design includes composting toilets, reclaimed timber, thatching with local materials — Fly Ranch is located in a region with strong ties to the Numu (Norther Paiute) and Newe (Western Shoshone) people — computational, script-generated parametric design and more.

rendering of round, rammed earth structure
aerial rendering of clusters of buildings in the shape of a coyote

An honorarium grant will be given to select design teams to test their designs with onsite prototypes. The top 10 shortlisted designs as well as the entire LAGI 2020 Fly Ranch gallery can be viewed here.

+ LAGI 2020 Fly Ranch

Images and captions provided by LAGI

rendering of geodesic dome surrounded by gardens

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