Competition Results

2013 Burnignman Airport Terminal and Pilot's Lounge Design Competition

Dear Competition Participants,

After reviewing all the submitted projects received from around the world (including Shanghai, Austria, Canada, San Francisco, Hamburg, Columbus, Holland, … ) the judges had a difficult job of selecting the winning projects.   Every single entry had interesting concepts and ideas to review and evaluate. Conditions in the Blackrock Desert are extreme, many projects may have been just to beautiful to subject to this degree of abuse !  Usually architects/designers want their buildings to fly, the concern of course is that the structures fly away. The ability to assemble the structure under winds and sand storms made the designs with fewer parts stand out.  There was also the desire to find an iconic shape that looked impressive from the sky and from the ground.  After several weeks of review about ten projects were brought to the Burningman Headquarters, Market St. San Francisco and over the course of several hours of bagels, coconut water and vicious debate the final projects had to be selected – Our wish, however was to see all these projects being built – flying, blowing, flapping, tumbling, shining, rising up across the playa – and we hope you continue to pursue this goal. Good Luck and Congratulations. Thank you for participating. We were very impressed with all the hard work you put in to your entries. It was an honor to review your designs.

Feel free to contact us at with any questions or requests for more info.

The Judges :

Thom Faulders, Eric Corey Freed, Micheal Twing, Steve Ramseur, Thomas Rettenwender and Luke Lukoskie (facilitator)


Ross Smith, Architect

2137 Grove Street

San Francisco, CA 94117

This project stood out because of its iconic shape created with a  reduced amount of parts. Using the containers as anchors, and large tensioned membrane surfaces results in a lightweight design that seems manageable to install fairly quickly. The reduced amounts of parts makes this an inexpensive solution. The wings of the design are raised to allow good visibility- in the case of a wind storm they could be dropped. Although the use of bamboo makes this an interesting challenge from a material perspective it was agreed that a number of different materials could be used. From the air the Starport form will be recognizable and a suitable place for the burningman ‘stars’ to land.




Betsy Barnard – Architecture

Kara Simmermon – Engineering

158 First St

Excelsior, MN  55331

This design stood out because of its impactful shape and grandeur. The judges agreed that this structure has a certain rhythm that makes it a fairly manageable structure to understand and install , the parts involved are fairly straightforward and readily available. Great care was taken to understand how the parts would fit into the container. The created space seems functional and intriguing to investigate and move through.






Winner for the Student Category :


Cornell University, Design & Environmental Analysis

Marie McKenna,
Jorge Adrian Campos,
Farrah Elamir,

Ithaca, NY

This project stood out for its design aesthetic  – MOST ORGANIC – beautiful presentation and lighting effects




Honorable Mention for Stunning Presentation

Names:   Brian Vesely  with  Aaron Laniosz, Catherine Lie, James Addison, Nathaniel Capaccio

Studio Name:   makelite

University:         University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Honorable Mention for Artistic Merit


Nicholas Kothari, Architecture and Interior Design

Stacey Burns, Art Curator and Business

Christian Pomodoro, Architecture

Victor Tvedten, Architecture and Ecological Design

Thom White, Architecture

160 Yanping Rd Building 1,3F, Shanghai China


Honorable Mention for Lighting Concept

Cristobal Gonzalez – Architect Designer, Principal

Evgeniya Golik – Engineer Designer, Support

3544 Indiana st San Diego, CA. 92103



Honorable Mention for Most ‘Uplifting’  & Amusing

Great artistic displays and “Playa Interactive Art”,  very welcomed playfulness

Antje Stratmann – Architect

Ingo Beelte – Architect

Thomas Stratmann – Graphic Designer

Miguel Martinez – Research & Development

Simon Koeppl – Strategy

Marcus Bellstedt – Strategy

NEST ONE, Mittelweg 22

Hamburg, Germany



Additional projects included in the final round of judging



Richard Porter
Cameron Helland

2711 18th St #26
San Francisco, CA 94110

Interesting concept of blending in, well thought out, interesting layering of meshes, very functional



Daniel M Swain, Architect

2532 Rampart Street

Oakland CA  94602

Functional, Elegant Structure – Love the Wing Structure


Olivier van den Hoven, Architect

Maarten Scheurwater, Architect

Oostzeedijk 90

3063 BG Rotterdam

The Netherlands

Very strong conceptual idea, very unique entry


Steinebach 13

A-6850 Dornbirn

Clear and simple concept, minimal parts, practical construction – similar structural concept of the winning entry



Gabriel Fain – Intern Architect (OAA)

FVG – Intern Architect

25 Grenville St.

Toronto, Ontario


Very Functional efficient use of space, smart use of available structural materials


Blostein/Overly Architects

922 West Broad Street

Columbus OH 43222-1444

interesting unfolding of complex shapes,  interesting structural design, nice use of color




On behalf of the judges,  I want to thank all entrants for their willingness to participate and share such a wealth of creativity. It was an honor to review your projects and designs. It would be great to see all these project constructed – you never know – we  may see them on the playa ! Keep up the great work and enthusiasm. For any questions or requests please email us at

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