Julian Scalia – Truck Temple

Origin: The basis of this concept first occurred to me whilst backpacking through the wilderness of Patagonia, Chile. I had been playing with the idea of creating a convoy of unique vehicles that served a greater purpose. I wanted to build immersive living and playing environments. My goal was too construct a habitat that provided a space in which individuals could explore their relationship with the world. This want to build such a place, stemmed from my belief that current institutionalized and public space lacks creativity, individuality, craftsmanship, and engagement. My goal was to create an environment, which fosters the imagination through curiosity. Once assimilated back into civilization and the constraints of the real world I realized the ambitious nature of my fantastical ideas. Joining the Student Based Creative Exchange I decided to embark on the first fabrication; a prototype for a new visual language.

Concept: Scaling down my original ideas I decided to focus my efforts on building a structure to tag onto my Toyota Truck. The first questions I had to tackle were: for what purpose, in what form and how? This is when I devised a rough blueprint for the Truck Temple. The Truck Temple was to become a living and sleeping environment. While not a public space the idea was to build the first installment, or proto-type, for this theoretical convoy of mobile learning environments. I wanted to invent the visual language that would carry throughout my greater works. Develop the craftsmanship and playfulness in a small-scale experiment. The result was a design that echoed the spiritual calling of Americans pushing forward to the western frontier. Taking reference from the covered wagons of early settlers, and the Stupas of Buddhist tradition I designed a structure to pave the road for future endeavors. Part gypsy wagon, part holy relic; the Truck Temple is meant to be a calling for pilgrims of the unconventional to join together and create a new future. This is the beginning of a new manifest destiny in which all is respecting and everything one.

Construction: The majority of the truck temple is built from wood. At least 35% of this wood is recycled or reclaimed, leftovers from the wasteful building of our bland consumerist society. While I would have liked to build the entire structure out of this re-appropriated material the design became to complicated. The structure would have had be to massively simplified to be suitable for a 100% recycled nature. I encountered many problems while fabricating the temple. Building a large structure to withstand freeway mobility is a tough endeavor. My ideas were constantly changing and evolving depending on the materials and time available. At first this was a frustrating thought but later it turned into joy. I realized the Truck Temple was a living changing environment, a idea that was evolving into existence. The Truck Temple is made from four basic components all of which can break down for easy storage and mobility. The first layer is the plywood base, which sits flush with the base of the truck bed. The next layer consists of the posts, which get bolted into the plywood floor. Sitting on top of that are the canvas ribs. The last and final component is the temple Stupa that can easy fit inside the truck bed for storage while moving. All the pieces bolt together for easy assembly. The next part of the build consist of paneling the side walls with metal sheeting, installing the door, heightening the temple, and finally adding interactive decorations. While construction on the Truck Temple may stop by August, the Temple is never done growing. Like a decorator crab the Truck Temple is a product of its environment ever changing and ever collecting new adornments with every new location it encounters.

Future: In the future I am curious in pursuing more livable and immersive environments. As I said the Truck Temple was only a proto-type for future creations. As for the future of the Truck Temple first it must be completed and decorated. The temple tower will be a shimmering mass of mirrors, complete with a crows nest and bell tower. Various artists will paint the interior wood with designs. They will use recycled house paint; and the interior will become a collaborative process that involves the touch of many hands. Windows or portholes will be installed on the side paneling to allow natural light and views of nature to seep into the abode. A door to seal out the elements will be inserted between the tower and the living area. The entire Truck Temple will also be adorned with lights and make shift bells, so it becomes a luminous sensory experience while roaming the streets. The interior will be laden with pillows and blankets to offer a comfortable resting place, for the wondering soul. More surprises are in store that have not entered conscious thought yet but are soon to be discovered. As I have said the Truck Temple is never finished always growing. Its debut will be at Black Rock City, NV on August 30th, 2010.

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