Regardless Of Trump’s Wall Talk, The Border’s Always Been Blurry To These Architects
By admin On 20 Apr, 2018 At 03:46 AM | Categorized As World News | With 0 Comments

PCI

Architect Fernando Romero’s imagined “Border City,” half in Mexico and half in the United States.
On the wall of Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman’s design lab at the University of California at San Diego, there’s a giant map made by a group of former students. The map shows an unnamed region fronted by a broad seaboard and bisected by a perfectly straight line, rendered by the students as a length of yarn. Absent any place names, it’s hard to recognize the locale at first, but the string is a clue: This is a chunk of the westernmost portion of the U.S.-Mexico border, running about 15 miles from the Pacific to the mountains. As seen in the map, the border itself is reduced to a mere afterthought, something tacked on, superficial.

“We call it Mexus,” says Cruz. Destined for the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture – the design world’s premier showcase for new ideas, opening this May – Cruz and Forman’s Mexus project uses maps, renderings and diagrams to send a pointed political message. As Forman explains, “We’ve been interested in documenting the flows, invisible and visible, that move back and forth across the border.” The duo’s exhibition includes ideas both grounded and improbable for turning the region into an integral whole – culturally, economically and ecologically – with a special focus on the area’s combined watershed. Mexus, says Cruz, is “a region that contains all the stuff that walls cannot stop.”

The pair – one an architect, the other a political scientist – have spent years looking at the border, mostly through conceptual inquiries like Mexus but also through more tangible projects. For instance, their firm has designed Cross-Border Community Stations – outposts developed in partnership with UCSD to foster grass-roots social research – that are underway in San Diego and Tijuana. Together, these projects – from far-sighted to practical – suggest how architecture can provide a counterweight to our current wall-crazed, deportation-frenzied moment by blurring, rather than accentuating, the divisions between the United States and Mexico.

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University of California at San Diego’s Cross-Border Community Station is expected to break ground.
As a field, architecture has long been a uniquely international endeavor, and given the close physical quarters of Mexico and the United States, it seems only natural that the two would cross-pollinate architecturally. Whether through the popular Spanish Colonial-style houses that dot the American suburban landscape or the Mayan-inspired concrete blocks of Frank Lloyd Wright’s La Miniatura in Pasadena, California, American architecture has often been preoccupied with Mexico both as a romantic ideal and a source of the new. Meanwhile, designers from the south have frequently picked up on Mexican themes in American design and reimported them, making them their own.

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