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At the Border(ed) Land

Part 2 Project 2022
Lou Elena Bouey
University of Cambridge | UK
Through the study of the border cities of El Paso (USA) and Juàrez (Mexico), the project seeks to reframe the role of spatial practices in the face of climatic breakdown, hardening borders and mobilities. It outlines the borderland as a complex and foretelling urban typology where migrant communities have taken up the role of urban hackers and ad-hoc architects.

Using policy loopholes, the project seeks to dignify the process of squatting, weaving a new transborder network of productive spaces that retrofit derelict industrial infrastructure and equip migrant families with environmentally resilient and durable spaces.
Working with the numerous skills and innovative practices of the many rural and indigenous Central American migrants who reach the border, it assists them in innovatively experimenting with dismountable, lowtek modules using upcycled or locally sourced natural materials such as straw, clay, industrial discards.

Six months of participatory fieldwork across the Americas acts as the core of the design thesis and project. A live, community-led initiative, the project is continuously testing, experimenting and researching on and off-site, and has begun work in Guatemala and Juárez as a series of workshops and built outputs. It therefore only exists as a collaborative endeavour and would not be possible without the partnership of local organisations and individuals.

Lou Elena Bouey


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