Rael San Fratello Architects
Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello, Brian Grieb, Nicholas Karklins,
Emily Licht, Plamena Milusheva, Colleen Paz, Molly Reichert
By some measures, the U.S. Secure Fence Act of 2006 funded the single largest and most expensive building project in the United States of the 21st Century. It finances 700 miles of fortification dividing the U.S. from Mexico at the average cost of $4 million dollars per mile. 600 miles of barriers have been constructed since 2006, at the cost of $2.4 billion. Additionally, the new wall has been breached over 3000 times, incurring $4.4 milllion in repairs. The construction and maintenance costs are estimated to exceed $49 billion over the next twenty five years–and there are several hundred more miles of wall construction recently proposed.
This wall, at such prices, should and could be thought of not only as security, but also as productive infrastructure–as the very backbone of a borderland economy. Indeed, coupling the wall with viable infrastructure–and this proposal focuses on water, renewable energy, and urban social infrastructure–is a pathway to security and safety in border communities and the nation beyond them.