Ronald Rael/Rael San Fratello, Drawing of Teeter Totter wall on drawing of Boundary between the United States and Mexico by the International Boundary Survey under the Convention of July 29th 1882. Courtesy of the architects.
The United States-Mexico Border Wall is one of the largest construction projects in the United States, spanning 1,931 miles across the southwestern border—and poised to expand due to the unsettling activities of the current presidential administration. Built to mitigate the flow of illegal movement, the wall ignores the rich and diverse cultures and lives found along the border. Rather, conditions of paradox, horror, and flux result from the division of public lands, cultural sites, and migration routes. Borderwall as Architecture reimagines the wall as a work of architecture and takes readers on a conceptual journey that exposes and questions its transformative effects on people, animals, and natural and built landscapes. Additionally, the book tells the story of people on both sides of the border who transform the wall, giving it new meaning by challenging its very existence in remarkably creative ways. Coupled with these real-life accounts are counter-proposals for the wall and its construction, performance, and meaning.
Ronald Rael is an architect and assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Departments of Architecture and Art Practice. Prior to joining the faculty at Berkeley, he was the codirector of Clemson University's Charles E. Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies in Genova, Italy, and coordinator of Clemson's Core Digital Foundation Architecture Studios. Rael and his partner Virginia San Fratello operate an internationally recognized, award-winning architectural firm whose focus on emerging technologies and ecological design lies at the intersection of architecture, art, culture, and the environment. Rael earned his MArch at Columbia University, where he was the recipient of the William Kinne Memorial Fellowship. He is the author of Earth Architecture, a history of building with earth in the modern era to exemplify new, creative uses of the oldest building material on the planet.
Teddy Cruz is professor of public culture and urbanism in the Visual Arts Department at University of California, San Diego. His work focuses on the border between San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico, where he has been developing a practice and pedagogy that emerge out of the particularities of this bicultural territory and the integration of theoretical research and design production. He obtained a master’s degree in design studies from Harvard University and is the recipient of the Rome Prize in Architecture from the American Academy in Rome, as well as the 2004–05 James Stirling Memorial Lectures on the City prize.
Marcello di Cintio is the author of Walls: Travels Along the Barricades, which was nominated for the 2013 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction and the 2013 British Columbia National Award for Non-Fiction. Also in 2013, he was awarded the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.
Michael Dear is a professor of city and regional planning in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of the book Why Walls Won't Work: Repairing the US–Mexico Divide. His recent op-ed piece in the New York Times, "Mr. President, Tear Down This Wall," is a call to define America's national identity by something more durable than a strip of steel.
Norma Iglesias-Prieto is department chair and professor of chicano/a studies at San Diego State University. She is author of Beautiful Flowers of the Maquiladora: Life Histories of Women Workers in Tijuana (University of Texas Press, 1997) among other titles.
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