fresh, here is the link that i built my hut from. last year was truly no test though due to no wind! i agree with figjam in that it is hot near the top of the tent and i am also going with a small backpacker tent under the hut this year instead of the larger tent from last year. more hang out shade! once again, i am going with figjams swamp cooler. try this link as the plans for the hut are very solid.http://galaxybeing.com/galaxyhut/
That's a really great improvement over the basic monkey hut design. I especially like the vertical supports you added, which I imagine keeps the shape of the structure a lot better during wind storms. I just might use this. Thanks!
Monkey huts do act quite well as a wind block if you've situated it correctly so that the wind comes at it from the sides. We had ours up during the really bad white-outs in 2008 and while the hut was a'flappin', the tent underneath was not. Thankfully, we sleep in our minivan now. Sleeping in tents at Burning Man is a young man's game.
As for old canvas tents, hell no. Go to Walmart and spend $60, use it solely as a Burning Man tent for a 2-4 years, then buy another one when that one is toast. We still use an old Coleman tent for gear, it's survived 4 times on the playa and can still be used as the kids' tent when doing regular camping. Pretty sure we didn't spend more than $50 on it.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, the absolute best way to sleep on the playa if you're not doing an RV or trailer, is to park a van or SUV under a monkey hut and sleep in that. Put up solar shades on the front and rear windows and you'll stay cool until almost noon. Helluva lot quieter and FAR less dusty than a tent, too.