As neighboring countries, the United States and Mexico share a deep history that is characterized by a vivid mix of cultures constantly exchanging ideas, work, land, and people. Located at the epicenter of this ongoing cultural infusion is the border separating the two countries which acts as a semi permeable membrane allowing a limited amount of trade to occur across this threshold. Through the study of the controversial relationship the two countries have with one another, a relation to neuron systems was made specifically referencing the knowledge that neurons are able to zap messages to other neurons without physical interaction taking place. The concept was implemented into the design of interior spaces which will allow for two separate territories to inhabit one building with shared spaces and level changes that provoke indirect interactions. A blurring of the separation of the countries occurs on the site through interlocking program which makes the current border obsolete and presents an indistinguishable border, intertwining the countries instead of separating them.
A voronoi pattern was then imposed onto the site and through methods of deduction; a plan was formulated to determine where program, circulation, atrium spaces, and voids would occupy on the site. The shapes of programs were then limited to practicality, avoiding sharp angles or virtually unusable spaces. The circulation of the buildings allow for passage of Mexican citizens onto United States land via river overpass but their programs remain separate from that of the United States. The programs most private to Mexico are placed on the Mexican side of the border while more public spaces such as the auditorium, cafeteria,lecture halls, and theater are located on the U.S. side to encourage a mix of knowledge and cultivation.
A pattern is extracted from a photo of a system of neurons. From there the form is created through selecting parts of the pattern with relation to the site. It is then distributed throughout the site, expanding and contracting and blending the two sides, creating a seamless border.
To strengthen the initial concept of indirect communication, the project incorporates spaces that become manipulations of the border, allowing interaction to occur while still in the confinements of each country’s own territory. These spaces are created by varying floor heights and interlocking programs as well as outdoor atriums which incorporate a vertical connection linking the floors and their respective countries. Atrium spaces such as the one shown illustrate an intimate environment in which both countries are allowed access to and can see each other through glass enclosures.
Bridging between connection
The site, which is located on the border and includes the span of the Tijuana River, presents opportunities in utilizing the threshold not as a separator but as a system of communication stretched across the border representing a re-connection between the divided nations.
System in action
The atrium spaces are created to not only cause a connection between the U.S and Mexico territories but it also acts as a natural ventilation system by allowing the cool air to enter the spaces and releasing the hot air out of the building.
The design of this structure aids in the understanding of how weather conditions in Tijana, Mexico relate to the concept of reconnection. Since the climate of Tijuana is a dry and desert-like, the double bi-layer caused by the structure helps to regulate a cooler environment.
The structure is broken down into a thickened shell like design. Within the shell like structure all of the primary , secondary and tertiary structures work together as one integrated system to distribute loads of forces evenly.
The space expresses an exposed structural system and the various mezzanine levels where Mexico and U.S interact.