Dec 31, 2009
Italian architects Mario Cottone and Gregorio Indelicato propose an immigrant "Pier-Museum" which, pointing out to sea, will stand as a "horizontal monument" to all the immigrants who have arrived on these shores in search of a better future. The 100 meter long structure will point out to sea off Miami Beach and will house a museum in which the personal effects, souvenirs and photos belonging to the new generation of immigrants will be exhibited - those who came to the city of Miami from the 1950's to the 1980's in search of their own personal American Dream. To this end, this "Pier-Museum" is to function as an architectural landmark and serve as a space commemorating the new urban dynamic of the city,the global multiculturalism which defines the beginning of the 21st century. The design was the winning entry in a competition hosted by the University of Miami School of Architecture and Arquitectum.
Border Wall looking towards Tijuana, Mexico at Border Fields State Park
It is not clear if the Italian architects are aware of the western terminus of the border wall as it dives into the Pacific Ocean, a manifestation of, and symbolizing, the tensions that are directed at immigrants seeking a better future in the U.S. Is their proposal a political statement, irony or serendipity?
Dec 19, 2009
The most untapped potential for solar development in the United States lies along the U.S./Mexico border. Solar farms, in turn, are highly secure installations. What if we were to reallocate some of the funds used simply to construct and maintain the border wall for the construction of energy infrastructure along the border? We would actually create scenarios in many instances that are more secure than the existing wall, and that simultaneously provide solar energy to the energy hungry cities of the southwest.
Nov 24, 2009
Evidence of informal crossing along the border zone.
Border infrastructure along the Rio Grande and the industrial zones that serve North America.
Nov 20, 2009
Nov 13, 2009
On the San Diego-Tijuana border, Brent Hoff and Josh Bearman initiate an impromptu volleyball game with two formidable opponents: Jerry and Eric. Playing over the dividing pylons between the two nations, the Americans ponder the implications of their game on U.S. Customs law.
Oct 24, 2009
Sep 9, 2009
cityLAB, an urban think-tank at UCLA’s Department of Architecture and Urban Design, has announced the six finalists of its WPA 2.0 competition. The competition, which stands for working public architecture, invited designers of all stripes to submit proposals for rebuilding our cities’ infrastructure as a sort of throwback to the Great Depression-era WPA. Juried by Stan Allen, Cecil Balmond, Elizabeth Diller, Walter Hood, Thom Mayne, and Marilyn Jordan Taylor, the top-six picks run the gamut from heading off an impending water crisis to creating a softer, gentler version of our infrastructure.
Sep 3, 2009
Aug 6, 2009
Once found across much of the lower Gulf Coast, sabal palm forests have all but vanished under the plow. While some scattered trees can be found on private lands in the region, the significant remaining stands of these towering trees are located at Lennox Foundation Southmost Preserve, the Sabal Palm Audubon Center and the Lower Rio Grand Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
All three of those conservation areas lie in the path of the border fence
In order to save sabal palms that would otherwise be leveled by construction of the fence, the Conservancy is partnering with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and Audubon Texas in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to transplant palms to safe ground, one tree at a time.
Aug 5, 2009
Aug 4, 2009
From the article: Border wall successfully halting illegal immigration (of wildlife) By Eoin O'Carroll in the Christian Science Monitor:
Those who wish to secure America’s borders from ocelots, pronghorn antelopes, gray wolves, and bighorn sheep scored a victory earlier this month, as an amendment to a Homeland Security bill passed by the House mandates an additional 369 miles of fence that will prevent these animals from crossing the border.
The border wall, which was constructed after waiving three dozen federal environmental laws, is expected to be successful in reducing populations of these and other species, most of whom do not speak English or pay taxes. The science news site PhysOrg reports on a study for the peer-reviewed journal Conservation Biology, which found that Sonoran bighorn sheep populations north of the border rely on contact with those on the other side of the border to maintain genetic diversity.
A 2007 report in Salon found that habitat fragmentation was also reducing populations of ocelots – a rare species of wildcat that some argue could potentially steal jobs from Americans.
Indeed, the only large mammal whose migration is largely unaffected by the border wall are H. sapiens, whose opposable thumbs and developed neocortex enable them to simply use ladders ordig tunnels under the fence. Last year, the Federation of American Scientists reported that the US Border Patrol had discovered 93 cross-border tunnels since 1990.
What’s more, almost half of illegal human immigrants avoided the border wall altogether by entering the US on a legal visa – an option not available to members of other species.
Still, by some measures, the border wall can be considered a success. Since its construction, there have been no reports of pronghorn antelopes enrolling in public schools, and the number of ocelots working in service industries appears to have been sharply reduced.
Jul 23, 2009
American Patrol, an independent pro-border fence website, has released a new online map of the Southwest border that shows the where and what type of fencing is installed between San Diego, California and Brownsville, Texas. Viewers can open a map of Border Patrol sectors and then click on a given sector to see where fencing and vehicle barriers have been installed.
Jul 10, 2009
Jun 22, 2009
Jun 12, 2009
Jun 6, 2009
One post-9/11 urban intervention that has received little attention in architectural circles is the massive transformation of the San Ysidro border checkpoint, currently in its early planning stages and for which an architect has already been chosen. Homeland Security is pouring billions of dollars into the San Diego/Tijuana border region to reinforce its infrastructure of surveillance, continuing to further divide the U.S. from its Mexican neighbor.Read more in the essay SD/TJ BORDER WALL: URBANISM OF TRANSGRESSION by Teddy Cruz.
Mar 2, 2009
With this proposal for a border crossing for pedestrians between Mexico and the United States, Belgian firm OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen, in collaboration with Wonne Ickx, won the first prize in an international design competition back in 2005. Not necessarily the latest competition news, but the architectural and political issue of construction projects along the US-Mexican border remains highly explosive and, yet, unresolved.
This is how the architects describe the project:
“An oblong volume provides a border crossing for pedestrians between Mexico and the US, and interrupts the endless demarcated boundary. A nine-meter high wall defines a no-man’s-land between the two countries. Within the white walls a grid of palm trees imposes order on a large, shaded garden. Pavilions for passport control and administration are spread around here and there, becoming part of the garden. The oasis is a point of reference in the vast Tex-Mex landscape, hidden within the open landscape by its walls. In all its simplicity it raises questions about the desire for the promised land.”
OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen will also have their first solo exhibition coming up in deSingel International Arts Campus in Antwerp, Belgium. The exhibition is called 7 Rooms and will feature 17 key projects, and a catalog. The exhibition opens on March 5.
Images: OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen
Feb 20, 2009
By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD
LOS ANGELES — The federal government has pledged millions of dollars to make up for the environmental damage from building hundreds of miles of fences along the Mexican border through wilderness and protected lands.
In an announcement on Thursday, federal officials said the new spending was intended to resolve any conflict in the missions of the Departments of Homeland Security and Interior. The former is building nearly 670 miles of fences and other security equipment along the border, while the latter is charged with protecting and maintaining several hundred miles of public lands along the fence.
The officials said the Homeland Security Department would devote up to $50 million in the next year for “reasonable mitigation measures” to compensate for the damage or loss of animal and plant habitat and cultural areas like American Indian religious sites.
That compensation could include modifying the fence to curb flooding and to accommodate threatened and endangered species or restoring their habitats, but officials have not worked out those details and it will vary depending on the area.
The Interior Department will draft a list of priorities by June.
The agreement between the two departments has been in the works since April, when the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, to the dismay of environmentalists and some scientists in the Interior Department, used his Congressionally authorized power to waive environmental laws to speed access to broad swaths of land.
At the time, in the face of an outcry from critics, Mr. Chertoff said the fence construction would proceed but with sensitivity to the environment and in coordination with the Interior Department.
Homeland security officials said the department had spent about $40 million in the past two years to address environmental problems associated with the border security project.
The fence construction and related roads and equipment for detecting illegal border crossers directly affect 200 to 300 miles of Interior Department land along the fence route and some of the most environmentally sensitive sites in the region.
With the promise of new spending coming just days before President-elect Barack Obama takes office on Tuesday, it was unclear on Friday to what extent the agreement would stick.
Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona, a Democrat whom Mr. Obama has chosen to head the Homeland Security Department, has not publicly taken a position on Mr. Chertoff’s use of the waivers, a spokeswoman said.
But Ms. Napolitano has expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of the fence. On Thursday, she told a Senate committee considering her nomination that she planned a broad and thorough review of the department’s policies.
Nick Shapiro, a spokesman for the Obama transition office, said, “President-elect Obama will review all 11th-hour regulations and will address them once he is president.”
Lloyd Easterling, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection, the agency within the Homeland Security Department that will decide how to spend the $50 million, said transition officials were consulted on the agreement and took no position. But Mr. Easterling expressed optimism that it would go forward.
“Good environmental stewardship,” he said, “is transcendental of administrations.”
Environmental groups who challenged the fence construction, including an effort to have the Supreme Court block it, said dozens of species had suffered lost or damaged habitat. Among them, they say, are jaguars, ocelots, deer, javelinas and owls.
The environmental groups said that although steps to minimize the environmental harm of the fence were welcome, they would press the new administration to halt further fence building and reassess what had been done.“We heard in Janet Napolitano’s remarks this week interest in evaluating this project, and that certainly is what the Sierra Club is asking for,” said Oliver Bernstein, a spokesman for that group in Texas. “This $50 million is too little, too late, but it is recognition that the border wall project is having tremendous environmental consequences.”
A version of this article appeared in print on January 17, 2009, on page A15 of the New York edition.
Border Fence Work Raises Environmental Concerns (November 21, 2007)
Environmental Laws Waived to Press Work on Border Fence (October 23, 2007)
Feb 8, 2009
Border Patrol agents seized hundreds of pounds of marijuana valued at almost three-quarters of a million dollars from a truck that was driven over the border on metal ramps.