CANCELED - The Unofficial Global Barrier-Centric Design Competition

U.S.-Canada Border RFP

Saturday, June 24, 2017, 2:00PM - 4:00PM


SPACES, being a non-profit organization without the resources of a global superpower, has decided to implement a more efficient and economical procedure to request proposals for designing a physically imposing border along the US-Canada border than that of the US Department of Homeland Security's RFP for the US-Mexico border. We are issuing all relevant and/or pending revisions within this initial document and hope to clearly state our intentions, scope, requirements and dates. We do this with the vivid and immediate realization that the time frames of the DHS's official schedule are impractical, unrealistic, and, frankly, ignorant of the design process.

Why Canada? Arguably, it could be short-sighted to only close off one of our critical borders. Why limit an imposing physical barrier to just the border with Mexico? While Canada only has 29% of the population of Mexico, their border with the United States is over 3,600 miles longer (including the 1,538 mile border between Alaska and Canada), allowing for many more locations for illegal crossings. Considering the trade values between each county and the United States are nearly identical, the potential per capita value of each illegal immigrant would be significantly higher with Canada. Additionally, it may truly be beneficial to Canada to pay for this wall to protect its borders from the increased threats of United States citizens immigrating to its country.

Application Guidelines
Please include the following in a single .pdf, no larger than 2 MB:
• A single 17"x11" page best illustrating your design concept, including sketches and visual references for structure and materials (vertically oriented)
• 250-word maximum description of your design concept
• Contact information, including name, email address, phone number, city & country of residence, and website URL

Applications should be emailed to with "Barrier-Centric Design Application" in the subject line.

Design Intent
The Department of Homeland Security eventually got around to defining the basic need for a barrier as this: "concrete wall structures, nominally 30 feet tall, that will meet requirements for aesthetics, anti-climbing, and resistance to tampering or damage."

Please feel free to interpret this needed barrier as seriously, sarcastically, sympathetically, or sophisticatedly as you desire. We encourage free thought and are open to a wide range of approaches to this "barrier" concept. To encourage a democratic and inclusive competition, open to all with the need for commentary on this topic, the entrees will be judged primarily on concept, not presentation.

While it would be disingenuous for us to represent that your winning project will be constructed along the border with Canada, we can offer the following incentives for creativity:

First place: The "Golden Brick" Award + $600
Second Place: The "Silver Brick Loser" Award + $300
Third Place: The "Masonry Brick" Award + $45

Selection Criteria
A small but dedicated group of art and architecture professionals will develop a short list of 6 applications that will then be reviewed by a jury during a live event on 6/24, 2 pm – 4 pm, at SPACES in Cleveland, OH. The short list jury and live jury will use the following criteria to make their selections:
• environmental sensitivity
• uniqueness of response to geological site conditions
• barrier effectiveness
• universal adaptation
• sharp-wittedness

Those who are short listed will be invited to participate in the live jury on 6/24, to defend their designs, either in-person for locals or via Skype for those outside of northeast Ohio.

While making an attempt to still adhere to the time frames ultimately outlined in the DHC's solicitation, the critical dates for the Unofficial Global Barrier-Centric Design Competition are as follows:
April 24, 2017 The Official Solicitation Electronic Announcement
May 5, 2017 Opening reception for The First 100+ Days exhibition
June 9, 2017 The NEW Official Response Deadline (5 pm EST)
June 18, 2017 The Official Announcement of Shortlisted Projects
June 24, 2017 The Official Public Jury and Award Announcements

This event is co-organized by Earl Pike, John C. Williams, and Christina Vassallo, for SPACES, as part of The First 100+ Days.

Image from Library and Archives Canada under the MIKAN ID number 3195995M

CANCELED - The Unofficial Global Barrier-Centric Design Competition

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