Trump’s US-Mexico wall? Miami Beach architects offer an alternative design

Sloping border would be made with 750k recycled shipping containers dug into the ground

Dec.December 15, 2016 03:00 PM
A rendering of the proposed border with Francisco Llado on left and Robert Moehring

From the South Florida website: A Miami Beach architecture firm has come up with an alternative to President-elect Donald Trump’s U.S.-Mexico wall, with a design that aims to avoid obstructing the view between the two countries.

Domo Architecture + Design designed a border made of recycled shipping containers that would be placed 25 feet into the ground to create a sloping barrier between the two countries, the firm’s principals told The Real Deal. It would run the entire 1,989-mile length of the border.

“This is an eco-friendly, sustainable solution,” principal Francisco Llado said. It would require 750,000 recycled shipping containers, which could be donated, he said.

The firm’s entire staff of eight people spent the last three weeks on the project, as a sort of conceptual exercise. Llado and principal Robert Moehring declined to discuss their political leanings, and said they did not view the project through a political lens.

Rendering of the slope

The design is a reaction against a man-made concrete wall, “promoting a beautification of any border by means of design,” Llado said.

The firm was not commissioned to create the design and the partners said they have no plans to present it to Trump. The cost is unknown, but they said it would be less than a concrete wall.

“We wanted to show through design that there are alternatives to building a wall, which is both a visual and physical barrier and culturally insensitive to either country,” Moehring told TRD. “So the solution is more of an open landscape.”

Domo‘s design would involve excavating the land in places where there are not natural barriers. Three 8-foot, 6-inch, steel shipping containers would be stacked on top of each other to create the 25-foot, six-inch barrier. It’s meant to replace an existing fence that is up to 16 feet high, that currently separates the two countries in some locations.

“So the beauty of this is that by the time you are at grade, it has disappeared,” Llado said. “You don’t see it.”

Rendering of the proposed border at the coastline

He said their inspiration came from natural elements, like rivers, cliffs and mountains. “We’re trying to mimic and reshape a natural formation of a border instead of a concrete wall,” he said.

“There are other ways to build a border that is friendly and open instead of building a concrete wall,” Moering added.

Trump‘s highly controversial idea of building a wall between the United States and Mexico was a key part of his presidential campaign. He first proposed the concept during his candidacy speech in June 2015, saying “I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me — and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words,” according to CBS News.

Trump estimated that the wall would be 1,000 miles long (with natural barriers taking up the rest of the border), would cost $8 billion to build, and would be made of precast concrete slabs rising 35 to 40 feet in the air, the Washington Post reported. The newspaper later spoke to a retired estimator and economist for one of the nation’s largest construction firms, who estimated the cost at $25 billion.

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