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U.S. Port of Entry

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  • U.S. Port of Entry, GSA
    Del Rio, TX  USA

    The port of entry required powerful and symbolic forms that we could invest with openness, optimism and a gesture of welcome. With that purpose, we designed soaring steel canopies that could be seen from a great distance on the surrounding Rio Grande flood plain. Wing-like in form, these structures temper the harsh sunlight and arid conditions at the border and also mediate a set of complex demands. As with another commission we received from the GSA’s Design Excellence Program—a 60,000 SF office building at the Pease International Tradeport—our design resolves inherent tensions between the need for openness and security, shade and transparency. Ample amounts of light, for example, are essential for security and screening vehicles; our solution creates large north-facing slots in the canopy to bring light in; the slots also function as natural vents that draw fumes from idling cars and trucks. The GSA honored our scheme with a design award in 2004.