Reflection | Borders, limits and the ability to move freely

Location: International

Year: 2014

Framework:  Arquine Competition 16: Threshold of the Americas

#Borderlines #Territory


n’UNDO proposes a reflection on what borders, limits, and the ability of people to move freely mean.

The Aquine competition number 16, Threshold of the Americas, raised a theme of timeless importance that would open the stage for discussion, based on an international call for the design of the threshold between Tijuana and San Ysidro, as the transit point that would manage to resolve the programmatic needs of those who are passing through and at the same time become the attractor and reference point with a monumental vocation for the world’s busiest border.

In fact, it posed a profound reflection on what borders, limits and the capacity of free movement of people mean. The lines that mark the difference between life and death.

“Before, man had only body and soul. Now, he also needs a passport, otherwise he is not treated like a man”.

(…)Before 1914 the Earth belonged to everyone. Everyone went where they wanted and stayed there as long as they wanted. There were no permits or authorizations. (…) the same borders that today customs officers, police and gendarmes have turned into a fence, because of the pathological distrust of everyone towards everyone, represented nothing more than symbolic lines that crossed with the same carelessness as the Greenwich meridian.

All the humiliations that had once been invented only for criminals were now inflicted on all travellers, before and during the journey. (…) I realize then how much human dignity has been lost in this century that we young people had dreamed of as a century of freedom, as the future era of cosmopolitanism.

(…) I consider the stamps on my passport a stigma and the questions and records a humiliation.

Stefan Zweig : Yesterday’s World. 1942

The aim of Architecture is to improve people’s lives and to enhance the territory with their presence. It cannot, therefore, be a tool for interventions against human rights, nor can any element be constructed in its name that masks such complex problems as condensers or transit areas for the demagogically named “free transit of people”.

The proposal is to dismantle all constructions and elements that make the flow of life difficult and impossible.

It is necessary to erase the false lines that separate the world, and to work on a single line, which founds and builds: the horizon