When we think of borders, we think of unfriendly, tense spaces, patrols, barded wire even… But does it have to be a grim wasteland? There is a more positive architectural response to these liminal spaces out there – and here are some examples of border architecture done well.
Designer and creative Espacio Cero has proposed a new and much more productive alternative to Donald Trump’s wall between Mexico and the US.
Rather than build a wall, Espacio Cero would see a vast, interconnected economic community founded along the border, to celebrate and encourage exchange between the two countries rather than condemn it. Entitled ‘the invisible wall’, Cero’s proposal involves interconnecting the various sister cities along the border area through a web of transport links and industrial enterprises, as well as public parks and recreation programmes.
Canadian Plaza at the Peace Bridge, Fort Erie, Canada
NORR was awarded the design of the Canadian Customs and Immigration Agency’s Redevelopment of the Peace Bridge Plaza and Border Crossing. The landmark Peace Bridge Authority’s project design reflects “a new Canadian image of confidence and sophistication”, while paying homage to regional history.
Mariposa Land Port of Entry, designed by Jones Studio
Phoenix-based Jones Studio balanced security and serenity in its design for one of the busiest border stations in the US. The design involved a reconception of the port, reworking the bones of the existing structures into a facility that included 216,000 square feet of new facilities.
Sarpi Border Checkpoint, Sarpi, Georgia
The customs checkpoint – designed by Berlin architect J Mayer H – is situated at the Georgian border to Turkey, at the shore of the Black Sea. With its cantilevering terraces, the tower is used as a viewing platform, with multiple levels overlooking the water and the steep part of the coastline. In addition to the regular customs facilities, the structure also houses a cafeteria, staff rooms and a conference room. The building welcomes visitors to Georgia, representing the progressive upsurge of the country.