As the permanence, high fixed costs, and relative inflexibility of bricks-and-mortar cultural facilities become more albatross than attribute (as chronicled in Skip Reiss’ inventory of stalled or stalling cultural facility projects), events like the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival may offer at least one alternative. Christopher Hawthorne’s exploration of the event — and its temporary pavillions — extols the promise of architecture that’s intended to vanish. Says he:
architects who thrive in this difficult period will be those able to
reinvent themselves, at least to a degree, as sleight-of-hand artists,
bringing to inexpensive or immaterial designs a sense of heft or
spectacle. And in the coming years, fans of experimental architecture
and design will increasingly travel to get our aesthetic fix not to
some brand-new museum or iconic skyscraper but to gatherings like
Coachella, where the Bilbao Effect is now being recreated on the cheap
in temporary, stripped-down and occasionally thrilling form.
Is there opportunity for more traditional cultural organizations and events to embrace the temporary rather than strive for the immovable?