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PICA Time-Based Art Festivals

Portland, OR

PICA Time-Based Art Festivals

Portland, OR

For many years, Bora staff volunteered design services to the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) to create temporary performance and gathering spaces for their internationally recognized Time-Based Art festival, a 10 day coalescence of visual and performance art.

Over the years we’ve created theaters, cabarets, restaurants and social areas, and smaller moments, such as mobile carts and ticket offices. Each year our design has taken advantage of the festival’s temporary nature, featuring a new mix of low-cost, donated, recyclable and readily-available materials.

For the 2004 festival, we were tasked with creating a 200-seat theater inside the shell of an abandoned warehouse. Our team first installed a long, sturdy scaffold wall within the cavernous volume. Clad in translucent visqueen and pegboard and internally illuminated, it created a ghostly skeleton. We constructed seating on a stepped substructure using five gallon plastic buckets, MDF boards, and recycled carpet tiles. Bora physically built much of the theater and received a national AIA Honor Award.

In 2005, we transformed a vacant building into a cabaret and restaurant. Out front we built a scaffold structure that hosted an outdoor bar and event space. Wrapped in orange construction fencing and illuminated at night, our contribution created a striking streetscape and ethereal identity for the festival.

In subsequent years we have explored a variety of projects, including a ticket office in a recycled shipping container and art salon in a former high school. These projects gave PICA a roving identity as a provocateur in the cultural landscape of Portland and fueled us with fresh ideas for our architectural projects.


less than 20,000sf


2005 Awards:
Honor Award, AIA Portland Chapter
Merit Award, AIA Northwest and Pacific Region
Best Whole Building, Architecture and Light Design Awards
Best Building on a Budget, Architecture and Light Design Awards

2004 Awards:
Honor Award, National AIA
Honor Award, AIA Northwest and Pacific Region
Merit Award, AIA Portland
People’s Choice Award, AIA Portland
Honor Award, USITT