The proposed amendments to the Cannabis for Private Purposes bill that seeks to further decriminalise cannabis usage and legalise South…
Two Sides of the Border: Reimagining the Region
Edited by Tatiana Bilbao, Nile Greenberg and Ayesha S. Ghosh, photography by Iwan Baan
Yale School of Architecture/Lars Müller Publishers, December 2020
Paperback | 6-1/2 x 9-1/2 inches | 488 pages | 350 illustrations | English | ISBN: 9783037786086 | $40.00
Under the direction of Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao, thirteen architecture studios and students across the United States and Mexico undertook the monumental task of attempting to capture the complex and dynamic region of the US/Mexican border. Two Sides of the Border envisions the borderland through five themes: migration, housing and cities, creative industries, local production, tourism, and territorial economies. Building on a long-shared history in the region, the projects covered in this volume use design and architecture to address social, political, and ecological concerns along the shared border.
Featuring essays, student projects, interviews, special research, and a large photo project by Iwan Baan, Two Sides of the Border highlights the distinct qualities of this place. Altogether the book uses the tools of architecture, research, and photography to articulate an alternate reality within a contested region.
Tatiana Bilbao is a leading voice in contemporary architecture. She founded Tatiana Bilbao ESTUDIO, a Mexico City based architecture studio, in 2004 with the aim of integrating social values, collaboration and sensitive design approaches to architectural work. … Bilbao holds a recurring teaching position at Yale University School of Architecture … She was born and grew up in Mexico City. Iwan Baan is an architecture and documentary photographer. … In his photographs he focuses on the connection between architecture and the surrounding environment. Instead of isolating the built structure he embeds it in history and context.
Not surprisingly, a lot of content is found between 100 and 117 degrees west longitude — from Texas to Tijuana — but it also focuses on Ohio, the Yucatán, and other places at a great distance from the border; this is indicative of an approach that defines “region” in much broader terms than those typically discussed. Every part of the project — words, photos, maps, studio projects — serves to redefine people’s attitudes toward “border” and “region.” Yes, there are photos of the border wall (one of the mockups of the former US President’s border wall prototypes opens the book), but readers also see neighborhoods near Mexico City, households in Kansas, and views of other places that illustrate how the lives of so many families bridge both countries.
In terms of pages, the essays and Baan’s photos are given the most — adding up to about 375 pages, also including an interview between Bilbao, Baan, and Greenberg — with the maps section given roughly 50 pages and the student projects fewer than that. Greenberg admits early in the book that one of his unfortunate tasks was “having to reduce the incredibly thoughtful work by 129 students to a handful of pages.” I’m not surprised that was necessary, though, as the three-part project aims to be much grander than that one component. In this sense, the essays play a large role, adding voices from both sides of the border on a myriad of issues, both historical and contemporary. Unfortunately, biographies are not provided for the contributors and it’s not clear if the essays predated the spring 2018 studios, and therefore were used by the students in their design processes, or if they were created exclusively for the book. Whatever the case, the essays add layers of context and create occasional synergies with the efforts of Bilbao, Baan, and the students — for those willing to discover them among these pages.
* Syndicated content from A Daily Dose of Architecture Books.