It's not always easy being the chilliest spot at Burning Man, an event defined by heat and fire. However, Camp Arctica hold it's own in a city full of flames and art by providing the one thing that everyone needs in the hot desert. ICE!! When coolers are no longer cooling, cocktails loose their tinkle, or the heat simply cannot be defeated, many citizens of Black Rock City head to Center Camp seeking icy salvation from the frozen wonderland that is Camp Arctica.
As with many Burning Man projects, Camp Arctica had humble beginnings. In 2000, a preliminary igloo design ended up being more smooshed-wedding-cake than igloo. So for 2001, Peter Mars and Rod Garrett collaborated to design Camp Arctica's frosty abode, creating a beautiful cathedral-like, peaked-dome structure designed like a giant fan bent down to the ground. Parts were built in advance in the shop at Black Rock Station and then assembled on-playa by the DPW.
The same structure was reused for 2002, with some modifications to door placement and counter layout to streamline operations. More emphasis was placed on decor and lighting as the igloo was transformed from ice sales during the day to a glacially ambient public space with entertainment and dynamic lighting at night.
Camp Arctica sells ice to the Burning Man community as a public service, so participants may stay in Black Rock City and participate, rather than trekking far off playa, possibly even to Reno, searching for ice. Proceeds from the sale of ice and additional donations from ice patrons are given to local Gerlach and Empire organizations. In early 2002, these included:
The Greater Gerlach Improvement District
Camp Arctica is going to have a new structure in 2003, no one knows yet what shape or form it may take. One thing is for sure. It will be cool.