Designed for the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art's 10-day Time-based Art (TBA) festival, like the event itself, this project takes creative risks exploring light and material to create an engaging series of spaces and structures. Showcasing performances in theater, dance, media, and music, the festival draws an international audience. One of the event's signature aspects is that it serves as a “social gathering space.” After the evening's scheduled performances, festival-goers spill out into the numerous café and seating areas, extending the performance-like atmosphere late into the evening hours.

For the 2005 TBA festival, the event organizers chose a complex of vacant warehouses, light industrial buildings, and an asphalt service yard, wanting the event to interact with the surrounding neighborhood. The design team organized the event program, which had to incorporate a lounge for video art, a cabaret, a restaurant/café, a theater-in-the-round, and an outdoor garden, using the existing assembly of buildings and supplementing these spaces with temporary scaffold structures to create a series of outdoor rooms. Wrapped in orange construction fencing and illuminated from within by metal halide construction lights, the scaffolds quickly transformed into a bold architectural statement, what the designers refer to as “urban lanterns” (see image gallery). The first of these structures served as the festival entrance and ticket area, while another of the scaffold pavilions acted as the covered garden/concert area with projection screens and café (right).

Using the existing buildings to house some of the festival functions, the architects commissioned the warehouse loading dock to become the cabaret space (see image gallery). Inside, the loading docks were transformed into a restaurant-like space with pendant luminaries created out of plastic baskets (see image gallery). Across the festival site, in what was once a printing press building, a ring of translucent drapery and adjustable theatrical lighting created a theater venue (see image gallery).

In keeping with the festival's theme of communal participation and artistic exploration, the design team worked in a pro-bono capacity to lend their architectural and lighting expertise. The result is “a design that itself became time-based art.” The project reflects the process of collective input and inventive solutions, fusing new life into everyday materials and transforming them into an artistic palette. A|L

jury comments

A fresh take on how lighting can be used no matter how diverse the architectural venue or event. | Transcends the normal recognition of the materials. | Gets the spirit of “budget.”


Project Location: Portland, Oregon Client: Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA), Portland, Oregon Architect: Boora Architects, Portland, Oregon Lighting Designer: Candela, Seattle Landscape Designer: Alison Rouse, Portland, Oregon General Contractor: Anderson Construction, Portland, Oregon Photographers: Sally Schoolmaster, Portland, Oregon Project Size: 14,700 square feet Watts Per Square Foot: 1.2 Project Cost: $15,000 Lighting Installation Cost: all materials, equipment, and time donated Lighting Equipment: Exterior, exterior bar, and theater lighting all supplied by PICA; cabaret stage lighting supplied by TC Smith of Production Services and Lyndsay Hogland; cabaret drink lighting designed by Sierra Woods of Boora Architects; dining room lighting designed by Jorg Jakoby of PICA