“A protest against the wall and a forecast about its future.”—Allison Arieff, The New York Times
"Rael’s courageous mixture of subversion and compromise is not going to hide the affront that the border represents to those who live south of it."—London Review of Books
“Borderwall as Architecture explores how architects can undermine the wall not just structurally, but conceptually. Today, the wall symbolizes xenophobia and fear. Designs that promote social, economic, and ecological development on both sides of the border could rewrite that narrative. In the past, groups have gathered on both sides of the wall to hold yoga meetups and stage horse races. Rael draws inspiration from these and other examples to highlight opportunities for subversion and change.”—Wired
"Part historical account, part theoretical appraisal, and part design manifesto, Borderwall as Architecture is reminiscent of Rem Koolhaas’ Delirious New York in its sweeping assessment of both the sociocultural peculiarities and outlandish possibilities represented by a prominent structural element."—Architect Magazine
“Borderwall As Architecture goes into keen scholarly detail on the walls at the US-Mexico border…Rael offers many such concepts in the book, which often have a whimsy about them that reminds me of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.”
“[Rael’s] imagination is audacious, and he smartly frames his “grand tour” of the border as a procession of vignettes that shift easily between history, architectural what-ifs and what you might call postcards from the front.”— San Francisco Chronicle
"...in raising questions that not many others are asking about the relationship between two countries that share 2,000 miles of border, his book serves an important purpose."—The Daily Beast
Borderwall as Architecture is an artistic and intellectual hand grenade of a book, and a timely re-examination of what the physical barrier that divides the United States of America from the United Mexican States is and could be. It is both a protest against the wall and a projection about its future. Through a series of propositions suggesting that the nearly seven hundred miles of wall is an opportunity for economic and social development along the border that encourages its conceptual and physical dismantling, the book takes readers on a journey along a wall that cuts through a “third nation”—the Divided States of America. On the way the transformative effects of the wall on people, animals, and the natural and built landscape are exposed and interrogated through the story of people who, on both sides of the border, transform the wall, challenging its existence in remarkably creative ways. Coupled with these real-life accounts are counterproposals for the wall, created by Rael’s studio, that reimagine, hyperbolize, or question the wall and its construction, cost, performance, and meaning. Rael proposes that despite the intended use of the wall, which is to keep people out and away, the wall is instead an attractor, engaging both sides in a common dialogue. Included is a collection of reflections on the wall and its consequences by leading experts Michael Dear, Norma Iglesias-Prieto, Marcello Di Cintio, and Teddy Cruz.