Monday, June 19, 2006

The beauty of division Please fence me in

THE GLASS FOREST In Eric Owen Moss's design, transparent columns rise to light the night sky. Below ground, the columns light tunnels lined with cultural exhibits and art suggestive of the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. A meeting of two cultures creates a third, Mr. Moss says.

A fence is proposed for the 2,000-mile border between the United States and Mexico in an effort to improve national security and stem illegal immigration. The Senate wants 370 miles of it; the House, 698. And President Bush has invited military contractors to devise a "virtual" fence that would seal the existing stopgap fencing with high-technology tools like motion sensors, drones and satellites.

The New York Times challenged thirteen architects, landscape architects, and planners to consider the border zone between Mexico and the United States.
Several declined because they felt it was purely a political issue. "It's a silly thing to design, a conundrum," said Ricardo Scofidio of Diller Scofidio & Renfro in New York.
I fully agree with Bryan Finoki at Archinect, who asks: "Instead of challenging the architects to add to the fence, give extra advantageous purposes, beautify, make more dynamic, etc. (which ultimately only submits to the inevitability of a fence), why couldn’t the NYT have challenged them to come up with absolute alternatives? Challenge the very notion of the fence itself? What if, not only the fence is realized as the total non-solution that it is, but architects helped to prove that other projects instead, unassuming, could provide far better solutions instead?

Beside the rather bizarre GLASS FOREST by Mr. Moss is the proposal by Antoine Predock, based in Albuquerque, who "dematerialized" the fence with a physical wall designed as a mirage. An earthwork of rammed, tilted dirt would be pushed into place by Mexican day laborers. Crushed rock scattered before it, and heated from below, would appear to lift it off the ground, in the way that heat in the desert appears to make objects hover, like mirages.
"There would be confusion about the materiality of the wall," Mr. Predock explained. "It would discourage you from crossing, but the message from both sides would be one of good will."
truly miraculous

NYT article
you can read the same NYT article without the annoying login nonsense here
digged at Régine´s

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