Each year around 50,000 participants set out to become part of a momentary community in the harsh living conditions of a Nevada desert. Towards the end of summer, the Burning Man Festival lures crowds to the Black Rock Desert, USA. The participants create Black Rock City, a town that vanishes after just one week and is then rebuilt each year. In this urban experiment the citizens form solo and communal camps; some are the fruit of yearlong preparation, while others are last minute improvisations.

Since the event’s inception in 1986, the community’s ethos and culture has organically developed. In 2004, founder Larry Harvey laid down ten principles that reflect these now mature communal characteristics.

Leaving nothing behind when they pack up is one of these core principles and one of the most intriguing parts of the event. Thinking of an ephemeral city, heaps of trash spring to mind; festivals often mean destruction and soiling of nature. But the Burning Man Festival is impressive in its departure from this norm. After seeing the amazing architecture the community creates, it is almost unimaginable that it disappears after seven days.

Photographer Philippe Glade went this year and captured some of the great buildings in Black Rock City. Enjoy his impressions of these fantastic creations while thinking about how this artistic community’s ethos could help improve our permanent cities.

Read more on Philippe Glade here.