During the presidential campaign, US president-elect Donald Trump made a dramatic promise: “I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me”. In response, designers are saying “Yes we can” as they come up with alternative schemes for the United States-Mexico border.
That’s the case of Miami-based DOMO Architecture + Design, who are proposing a Sustainable Natural Border in contrast with the grey concrete wall that Trump has pledged to build between Mexico and the United States.
Their project “Beautifying the Border” is a mere concept, but it envisions a border that would look a lot more like a natural barrier — such as a cliff, a canyon or a river— than a man-made concrete block. The idea is to offer a design scheme that would “blend into nature while maintaining functionality.”
“By removing the idea of a wall or a fence, we remove the negative social, cultural, and physical connotations associated with visual and physical barriers”, says the firm. “Inspired by natural border conditions, we recognize the design potential opportunity for a more balanced and positive approach.”
Domo’s design would involve placing 750,000 recycled shipping containers in various modular configurations along the 3,145-kilometre (1,954-mile) border between the two countries. The containers would be dug 7,6 metres (25 feet) into the ground to create a sloping barrier that would minimize landscape and visual impacts.
Donald Trump first mentioned his intentions on building a wall during his presidential announcement in June 2015. Later he estimated that the wall would cost EUR 7, 500 million (USD 8 billion) and would be made of 10- to 12-metre (55 to 40-foot)-tall precast concrete slabs. This estimate was disputed by an economist and construction expert, who told the Washington Post that the wall would probably cost over three times more, suggesting a figure around the EUR 23,440 million (USD 25 billion).
Trump has also claimed that Mexico would pay for the wall, which Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has publicly rejected on more than one occasion.