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US government seeks architects for Trump wall

San Diego-Tijuana border wall

The United States’ Department of Homeland Security is looking for teams to design and build US president Donald Trump’s controversial southern border wall

The winning teams will erect a series of prototype wall structures close to the 3,201km-long US-Mexico border.

The project, which featured prominently in Trump’s presidential campaign, is expected to cost up to £25 billion and take three and a half years to complete.

The scheme has been condemned by Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, who said his country ‘doesn’t believe in walls’. Refusing to pay for the construction of the ‘impassable physical barrier’ in January, Peña Nieto also compared Trump’s rhetoric to former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

The Department of Homeland Security will issue a call for proposals on 6 March, and interested parties will have until 10 March to submit concepts. Shortlisted teams will be announced on 24 March and several winners will be awarded by mid-April with construction expected to commence shortly after.

The announcement coincided with a speech at the Conservative Political Action Congress’ annual forum in Maryland where Trump said work would begin on the barricade soon. ‘It’s way, way, way ahead of schedule,’ he told supporters. According to Trump, the wall could be 15m or higher and constructed from precast concrete, though it won’t run the entire border length due to natural barriers such as the Rio Grande.

Protest schemes intended to ridicule the endeavour have included a pink mega-structure inspired by Mexican architect Luis Barragán; a giant green corridor drawn up by Turkey and US-based landscape architecture firm Erdem Architects; and an alternative ‘landscape’ to the proposed wall, drawn up by Miami-based Domo Architecture and Design. A spoof of an IKEA Börder Wåll flat-pack furniture kit has also emerged.

According to the latest contract notice: ‘The Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection intends on issuing a solicitation in electronic format on or about March 6, 2017, for the design and build of several prototype wall structures in the vicinity of the United States border with Mexico.

‘The procurement will be conducted in two phases, the first requiring vendors to submit a concept paper of their prototype(s) by March 10, 2017, which will result in the evaluation and down select of bidders by March 20, 2017.

‘The second phase will require the down select of phase 1 bidders to submit proposals in response to the full RFP by March 24, 2017, which will include price. Multiple awards are contemplated by mid-April for this effort. An option for additional miles may be included in each contract award.’

The US/Mexican border runs from Tijuana in the west to the Gulf of Mexico in the east. It currently features around 930km of barriers and fences constructed since 1994. The political boundary crosses both open desert and major urban areas including San Diego, Tijuana and El Paso.

Trump signed an executive order approving the controversial project on 25 January, but funds have yet to be awarded by the US Congress. The move sparked a diplomatic crisis with Mexico after which Peña Nieto cancelled a planned visit to Washington. The Trump administration suggested a 20 per cent tariff on Mexican imports could be levied to pay for the barrier.

The deadline for submissions is 10 March.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Contact details

John P Callahan,
Contract Specialist
6650 Telecom Drive
Intech Two, Suite 100
Indianapolis, Indiana 46278
United States

Tel: 317-614-4934
Email: john.callahan@dhs.gov
Fax: 317-298-1344



Readers' comments (3)

  • ".....seeks architects..." is stretching it a bit, isn't it?
    Surely this type of project for the US government is customarily bid by the big construction management companies, who may (or may not) decide that they need to sub-contract aspects of the design to architects.

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  • Oh boy, is there really an architect with a soul so black they'd sell it for this? It's heartening to read of the spoofs.

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  • they forgot to specify that the architects applying should not be:
    mexican, chilean, brazilian, bolivian, equadorian, cuban, european, argentinian, and so on and on...

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