Not that we need reminding, but this election has been one of the craziest of all time. If there is one “positive” side effect of all the hate speech and incendiary rhetoric from a certain candidate, it’s the response from designers, artists, and architects who have turned their creative energy into powerful statements of protest in the form of posters; games, apps, and interactive web projects; fonts; and products.
Now a group of architects is joining the ranks with a spoof on Donald Trump’s wall that’s part climbable tourist attraction, part artistic homage to one of Mexico’s most treasured architects, and all social commentary.
One the Trump “policy suggestions” that has sparked a remarkable response from creatives is his insistence that the United States needs to build a wall along the Mexican border. Some architects have responded satirically, proposing hypothetical walls to quarantine Trump from the rest of the world and building a sandbag wall in front of one of the candidate’s N.Y.C. skyscrapers.
The Guadalajara-based architecture firm Estudio 3.14 has its own proposition: interpret the wall as a magnificent, magenta monument to Luis Barragán (1902–1988), the Mexican architect known for his liberal use of vividly tinted walls to symbolize a spiritual connection between people and their environments.
“The wall is both the supreme entity and the inhabitant of a larger metaphysical landscape: a screen for revealing the hidden colors of Mexico’s almost white sun and a shield for suggesting never-seen presences,” Barragán’s biographer Emilio Ambasz once said. “His magnificent fountains and carefully constructed plazas seem to stand as great architectural stages for the promenade of mythological beings.”
Estudio 3.14 tapped into the late architect’s obsession with walls to inspire the look of this conceptual project. “Because the wall has to be beautiful, it has been inspired in by Barragán’s pink walls that are emblematic of Mexico,” the studio said. “It also takes advantage of the tradition in architecture of megalomaniac wall building.”
But the project has a healthy dose of snark, too. Estudio 3.14 envisions the wall as a prison and processing point for undocumented immigrants. The American side is outfitted with stairs so Americans can walk up to the top and look over to the other side. It’s a prison, monument, and tourist attraction all in one.
While this is clearly an outlandish proposition, so is Trump’s. No matter how you spin it, the truth here is indeed stranger than fiction.