MECC field hospital aerials

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?

weatherhaven tents main
weatherhaven arctic

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.”

weatherhaven military tents
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.

weatherhaven from above
weatherhaven medical tents up close

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.