United States Land Port of Entry, Columbus, New Mexico
Architect: Richter Architects
Owner: United States General Services Administration
Location: Columbus, New Mexico
Project site: Previously developed land
Building program type(s): Laboratory, Office – 10,001 to 100,000sf, Public Order and Safety – General, Service, Warehouse and Storage – General, and Other
The project is a remote port of entry in the Chihuahuan Desert adjacent to Puerto Palomas, Mexico. Best known for its frontier history and Pancho Villa’s brief incursion, this border crossing now accommodates daily pedestrians, private vehicles, commercial (primarily agricultural) goods, and 800-plus school children who cross each day to go to school in the United States.
"A port of entry is a challenging building type. The designers in this project not only met that challenge, but achieved more by showing us how the architecture of any kind can make human environments healthy and dignified. This is a thoughtful, durable building made to last." - Jury comment
While providing safe, efficient, and expanded international entry processing for people and goods, this new port of entry design aspires to welcome travelers to America with architecture that inspires and conveys our country’s better virtues—architecture that serves and respects all people, embraces culture, conserves resources, nurtures ecology, protects habitat, celebrates diversity, and conveys a love of the land. The design’s integrated and expressed response to this breadth of sustainability opportunities is the mechanism for creating and conveying this message. The rhythm and silhouette of photovoltaic, clerestoried roof monitors echo distant mountains. Colored brick strata and weathered steel extend the patterns of earth and grasses that reach the horizon. Terraced native landscaping and sculpted ground plane tell visitors the story of the scarcity, the power, and the harvest of water in the desert. Shaded exteriors and daylit interiors shelter and harness the desert sun.