The “Build the Border Wall” competition has ended in a tie between two teams: One team consists of two international architecture students from the École Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris (Gautier Piechotta, who is French, and Wu Di, who is Chinese). The other is composed of students and designers (Charlottesville, VA designer Michelle Stein, graduate students from the University of Virginia Shannon Ruhl and Donna Ryu, and Honduran architectural designer Rosa Cristina Corrales Rodriguez).
Two other prizes were also awarded. Second place went to DOXA, a team of New York-based architectural designers Wesley Thompson, Josie Baldner and Hiroshi Kaneko. And third place went to a pair of architects working in tandem: Caleb White in New York and Emily Gruendel in Philadelphia.
Each winner will receive a cash prize from the Third Mind Foundation, “started in 2015 by a group of architects, designers and artists to initiate thought-provoking and meaningful competitions that are of an interdisciplinary nature”: $5,000 to be split by the winners, $2,000 to second place and $1,000 to third place.
The announcement of the Competition sparked considerable controversy. Many assumed it endorsed then presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call to build a border wall to keep out illegal immigrants. Its purpose, however, was to elicit serious discussion about the very idea of a border wall. One of the questions proposed by the challenge: “Is the idea patently ridiculous on a purely practical and moral basis?” Entrants were invited to contemplate the deeper issues of a border wall and, indeed, even propose alternatives.