ASCA/AISC Steel Competition Border Crossing Station

    The design of the border crossing station is inspired by the smuggling tunnels between the United States and Mexico, which have been a large part of the relations between the countries. When approaching the border-crossing complex, visitors are confronted by a series of perforated structural corten steel panels that form the illusion of a fence. This installation symbolizes the reality of the border between the two countries, while the interior of the building is designed to represent the hope that one day these countries can exist in peace and mutual respect. Visible from both sides of the border, the series of steel panels form a symbolic fence between the United States and Mexico. The long, wandering interior space tunnels underneath the fence and creates a portal between the countries that is symbolic of their history and their hopeful future.
    Esperanza means "hope" in Spanish.
    The entire building itself is buried underneath the ground, much like the tunnel systems between the countries. The exhibit space will bring together the history of the United States and Mexico and the hope that one day they can exist in peace and mutual respect with one another. A procession of suspended glass panels will be etched with images and photographs depicting important historical events that have shaped the relationship between the two countries. These panels will be connected to the ceiling directly underneath the light wells, urging visitors to look up, a vertical gesture associated with hope.
    The side walls of the space will form a story walls that displays information relating to the photographs and images on the panels. Directly underneath the light wells the floor is recessed to reveal water that will flow forwards, in the direction of intended circulation, guiding visitors to the next displays. Each hole will become shallower as the exhibit continues until the end where the hole will become level with the floor to create a reflecting pool that separates the exhibit and customs areas, and provides a place for people to relax and reflect while they wait to get their passports checked.