At the edge, there is a place:
Architectures of climate, insurgence and mobilities at the US-Mexico border (2021)

This design thesis serves both as a contextualising piece of research laying out key theoretical ground and a design brief for the ongoing production of architectural work. It aims to pull apart, through a critical lens, the border and its challenges facing climatic breakdown and mobilities. Through the study of the border cities of El Paso (United States) and Ciudad Juárez (Mexico), it outlines the borderland as an essential and particular urban and architectural typology, offering a multidimensional reading of a contested space that reveals itself as a more rhizomatic, productive urban continuum. Locating itself in contemporary literature, architectural practices, and drawing on key situated research both on and off-site, it frames the Borderplex as a precinct space that, rather than merely an edge, should be invested in and proposed through a frame of resiliency. Though shaped by extraction and violence, it is also a space of resistance, exchange and insurgence for and by migrant populations - and architecture is often used as a tool to both those ends - giving us many clues on what type of architectures should operate at the border. Furthermore, the retracing of environmental mobilities across the Central and North American continents frames climate migrants as incredibly skilled and innovative assets and designers of, and at the border. The research therefore urges that architects must pay particular attention to the border and learn from its spatial realities, shifting their practices to an intersectional practice of care, repair and participatory integration to enable an increasingly resilient and porous border space that serves both its current, and future communities.

#borderlands #climate #migration #informality #postcolonial  #placemaking

This research was funded by the University of Cambridge and:

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