technological features- Constructed of insulated pre-cast concrete and factory-made steel, the project takes full advantage of CAD-CAM construction methods.  Given it’s remote site, the project’s construction delivery method is on of ‘production’ rather than custom’

political narrative- clearly this project approaches ‘architecture as political policy’.  borders have to be established and maintained - of that there is little question.  whether the border is needed is not questioned herein, but the nature and character of it’s current iteration, however, is questioned.  this project suggests a different format for looking at the problem, resulting in a different answer.

awards - 2013 Western Mountain Region AIA -, 2013 AIA Colorado South -

architectural narrative - Inspired by Michael Heizer’sDouble Negative”, the project proposes an Earth-cut for the crossing.  The building itself is buried and somewhat invisible, leaving only a residual trace as evidence of it’s occupation.  The power of the project is garnered by a submersion into the earth, a scar, rather than the occupation of a defined territory by an object.  The architecture, therefore, is an architecture of absence.  This reversal of object and place is what initially interested us about this project, and in as much, provided us with a framework for execution.

The need to demarcate a division line is more a necessity of political policy than anything that can inspire a responsible architecture of our current time.  The client’s ambition was that this (hopefully) ephemeral building typology would dissolve as social, political and economic ideologies evolved forward.  The Earth-cut should, in time, fill with the sands of disuse, with only traces remaining - the remnant traces of a past political burden.  For now,  “X” will mark the spot.

The project is highly processional, as the typology and program would dictate.  However, the process is reversed and inverted.  The functional imperative is not one of dictation, although that happens, but rather of trust.  The project is visible during the day only by the obvious break in the fence - it literally disappears into the earth - but is highly visible at night by the four light towers.

The cutting tracers found upon the site channel light and water into the project, but their symbolic purpose is in represent the notion of rendezvous, particularly from 30,000 feet.  Symbolically, the water at the actual crossing represents the Rio Grande, the river that was historically crossed, often with some hazard.  Here, the water is a peaceful underground seep.  It is shallow and reflective  The pathway across makes you pay attention as you walk, much as the Earth-cut heightens your awareness of path as you subjugate the ground plane.  It is another world below the radar.

US/Mexico Border Crossing

- El Paso/Juarez, Texas, USA