While providing safe, efficient, and expanded international entry processing for people and goods, this new port of entry design welcomes travelers to America with architecture that inspires and conveys our country’s better virtues – architecture that serves and respects all people, embraces culture, conserves resources, nurtures ecology, protects habitat, celebrates diversity and conveys a love of the land.
The architecture is egalitarian – its patterns, scale, daylight, detail, and dignity equally applied to all parts of the building, all workers, and all visitors. The scale is human and humble. It looks outward more than inward. Imagery is not born of pomp, power, or even of history or tradition – but simply of love of the vast desert land, sky, and water that itself knows no border. It speaks of pride and even nationhood – but not by conventional form or metaphor. It is more about stewardship than ownership. It is more about inclusion than exclusion. It is more about performance than symbolism. It is nevertheless aspirational. It is about ideas and virtues that join two countries crossing the border as freely as the 800-plus school children that cross twice a day, every day.
The design’s integrated and expressed response to the breadth of sustainable design opportunities is the mechanism for creating and conveying this message. The rhythm and silhouette of photovoltaic, clerestoried roof monitors echo distant mountains. Colored brick strata and weathered steel extend the patterns and colors of the desert earth and grasses that reach the horizon. Terraced native landscaping and a sculpted ground plane convey the story of the scarcity, the harvest, and the power of water in the desert while moderating historical regional flood hazards to neighboring Puerto Palomas. Shaded exteriors and daylit interiors shelter, diffuse, and harness the intense desert sun.
The design process embraced the myriad technical, operational, performance, human and environmental challenges that are endemic to any port of entry, particularly one at a location of extraordinary natural beauty and resource. An integrated design strategy front-loaded technology, research, and detail solutions allowing technical disciplines and performance-based details to be knitted into the visible architectural fabric – creating both a physical and intellectual transparency.