We've covered some controversial architecture projects in the past, but perhaps none more so than this: the wall being proposed by Donald Trump to be built along the southern border between the United States and Mexico. The US Department of Homeland Security has recently announced their intention to begin receiving concepts for the project in the next week.
The announcement was made on FedBizOpps.gov, a US government website reserved for posting governmental business opportunities available to the private sector. The pre-announcement of the bidding process was posted on February 24.
"The Dept. of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intends on issuing a solicitation in electronic format on or about March 6, 2017 for the design and build of several prototype wall structures in the vicinity of the United States border with Mexico," states the presolicitation.
The notice goes on to say that the bidding process will be handled in two phases. In the first, bidders will be required to submit concept papers describing their prototypes by March 10. That list is to be whittled down in ten days, with the finalists notified on March 20. Members of that group then have four days to respond to the full request for proposal (RFP) including the cost to execute their construction.
"Multiple awards are contemplated by mid-April for this effort," says the notice. "An option for additional miles may be included in each contract award."
Thus far, over 200 companies have indicated their interest in participating in the bidding process, including 39 self-identified minority-owned businesses. Several solar companies are also in the mix, so it might be possible that some of the designs will incorporate renewable ways to light the structure, although whether or not they'll make it into the final mix is debatable, given the Trump administration's lack of focus on such priorities. Defense-contractor Raytheon is also on the list.
While this project is undoubtedly politically charged, it will certainly also be compelling and complicated from an architectural standpoint considering that the border between the United States and Mexico stretches for 1,900 miles over a variety of terrain. New Atlas will provide more details from the architectural and engineering perspectives as, and if, the project develops.