I am a theme-camp lead for Burning Flipside and one point of dissatisfaction with my camp has always been our shade structures. For the past few years, we have made do with a few cheaply made carport canopies lashed together. These drip water in between when it rains, don’t cut the heat effectively when it is very hot, and are interspersed with poles, breaking up what should be a communal gathering place into cramped zones. I had been casting about looking for something better. Domes are an obvious candidate, but they are a pain in the ass to make, and a pain in the ass to assemble on-site. After a while, I ran across bjurts, a plan for a shade structure designed by a burner to stand up to the harsh conditions at Burning Man. These seemed perfect, except for one drawback—they’re kind of small. Sizes can be varied somewhat, but the biggest calculated plan is 17′ in diameter. Not big enough to replace three 10’x20′ carports.
I corresponded with Bender (the designer of the bjurt) about ideas for making bigger bjurts, and other possible modifications, and he wound up providing me with a standard set of connectors for an 8-sided bjurt, and also a connector kit to build a giant 16-sided bjurt. This 16-sider is unknown territory for Bender and me.
We wound up dimensioning the small bjurt with a 12′ diameter, the big one 24′. This allows both of them to use some tube sizes in common, which simplified ordering and fabrication.
After much cutting, drilling, grinding, improvising, and a little bit of intemperate hammering, Gwen, some friends, and I have gotten both the big and small assembled. In case anyone else is considering doing this, I am writing up some construction notes. I have also posted some photos of the construction process to flickr.