Saturday, December 2, 2023

Border seesaws win international design contest

A project by two U.S. professors intended to show the interdependency of Mexico and the United States using seesaws for children to play on has been recognized with an award by London’s Design Museum.

The Teeter-Totter Wall, a temporary installation at the Mexico-U.S. border wall in 2019, has been named the museum’s Beazley Design of the Year 2020.

It was designed by University of California architecture professor Ronald Rael and San José University design professor Virginia San Fratello, along with Colectivo Chopeke, a Catholic youth group in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.

The three teeter-totters, constructed from bright pink boards slotted into gaps in the border wall, spanned the U.S.-Mexico between Anapra, a neighborhood of Ciudad Juárez, and El Paso, Texas, allowing Mexican and American children to play together despite the physical division between them.

The creators said at the time that the project was meant to illustrate what they saw as an essential truth about the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico: the actions on one side have an impact on the other.

It took the pair 10 years to construct the installation — starting in 2009 and finishing in 2019 — due to the difficulties involved in working on the border. It remained installed only for 20 minutes on July 28, 2019.

However, photos and videos of the event soon went viral on the web.

“It was an idea that really moved the judges,” said Razia Iqbal, a British Broadcasting Corporation journalist who was the chair of this year’s judging panel. “Not only was it something that felt symbolically important, it talked about the possibilities of the things that are possible when people unite with big ideas and determination.”

Source: El Financiero (sp)

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