30-09-2020

The Line, installation by REgroup

REgroup,

Tim Griffith,

Lockeford, CA, USA,

Land Art,

Landscaping,

The Line is a temporary structure designed by REgroup architecture in rural, Northern California. The installation was designed for small events, from musical performances to weddings, and offers a new type of rural event space for the area. The minimal design is a direct result of a very tight budget and a strong desire to minimise its environmental impact.



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The Line, installation by REgroup Culture and the countryside? Parades on a path? Music and mammals? It’s all possible in Lockeford, California, about 80 km south of Sacramento. This small community with a population of a little less than 4000 has a rural space for performances, conceived as a pavilion for weddings, music and art events. Something that conjures up an image of Land Art, with an almost metaphysical air, helped along the way by the pictures taken by the photographer Tim Griffith.
The architects from REgroup have come up with a highly elegant response to the request to craft a place to foster cultural activities in Lockeford. Because while in Medieval times, all the social classes viewed performance as a form of entertainment, these days the theatre is mainly considered to be the prerogative of the upper to middle class. In short, a bit of a luxury for the privileged few, let alone in the countryside! A preconception that also puts the brakes on the approach to culture itself for a significant number of citizens.
But it really doesn’t have to be that way, as we can see with The Line, the installation by REgroup. They designed The Line as a platform stage for small events, from musical performances to weddings—a new kind of space for rural events. The minimal design is the direct result of the obligatory restrictions posed by a very tight budget of fewer than 5000 dollars. “The design offered an interesting challenge to design something that had a strong presence while removing all unnecessary components. It creates a kind of spectacular ‘generic’ quality”,” explain Gary and Julia Lewis, co-founders and principals of REgroup.
The overall footprint of The Line is only 27.8 square metres, and it’s 22.8 metres long. A kind of fashion runway made entirely of wood. The creatives used a waterproof coating to protect the structure from the weather, the white colour ensuring that it stands out from the green and brown colour palette of the natural surroundings. Because The Line floats on pier footings, it has an ultra-low footprint on the land it sits on. This means that when the projects life runs its course, it will be easy to dismantle the installation and return the landscape with little impact. All of the materials for the project were sourced from nearby to further reduce its environmental impact.
According to REgroup architecture, The Line “has created a new local micro economy, offering a venue for small events and performances for the local and regional community”. All in all, a gesture as elegant as it is simple is capable of reinvigorating the countryside with cultural input. As we can see, you don’t always need a cultural centre designed by a starchitect to attract people to the theatre. Sometimes, all you need are basic projects like The Line, that introduce new dynamics and with them new vitality and opportunities both for the town and its inhabitants. All with a wink and a nod to the Greek amphitheatre, to Roman theatre, to New York’s Broadway and to the Milan fashion week: The Line ties in with the long tradition of shows for all and enriches the landscape with a landmark.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: REgroup
Location: Lockeford, CA, USA
Year: 2019
Images: Tim Griffith Photography

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