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Prefabrication and portability keep cropping up as themes in contemporary architecture, from emergency post-disaster housing to modular shed homes and cargo container offices. BldgBlog (and Dornob and others) now raise the question: are portable camps (military, corporate and otherwise) a precursor to a world consisting of ever-more-completely mobile cities, disposable settlements that are strategically erected overnight but might disappear the very next day?

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Weatherhaven, for example, is a curious company co-founded by an odd couple: an expedition organizing team and a construction company that, together, provide ” temporary shelter in remote places … a complete service including design, manufacture, packaging, transportation, and erection of buildings, all of which [are] created specifically to respond to the logistical problems of remote deployment in harsh environments.”

“Weatherhaven’s world class engineering team has been recognized by media and global Computer-Aided Design (CAD) experts for their innovation and capability. They are the backbone behind our 51 patents and our next-generation shelter solutions as well as immensely valuable in helping our customers design the ideal shelter solution to meet their needs.”

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weatherhaven military

What we are talking here goes beyond a simple camp-out, festival or ordinary tent city – forethought, planning organization on the scale of the fully-gridded Burning Man (a there-then-gone temporary annual city that rises for a week in the Nevada desert, starting again very shortly), but more even than that, which is tied to just one place each year. This is a fly-in-and-drop-off operation in which residents can move in immediately and have a fully-functioning town (water, houses, hospitals) up and running in days.

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And then, in the end, these modular portable cities can be packed up, moved or removed from the face of the planet entirely, leaving no real trace behind – no physical signs of their history or even existence. This is the ultimate commodification of the the cosmopolitan experience – whole urban centers that are easily created and as disposable as any other manufactured product of modern times.