UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON
BORDER CROSSING MARKET
PROGRAM BY MATT JOHNSON
The second project of the semester will directly explore the connections between the US and Mexico in the form of a 46,000 SF border crossing station. Embedded in this station will be a medium-scale duty-free market.
The market will combine foodstuffs with craft objects, etc We will focus on the interplay of these two programs—one about flow, traffic, infrastructure; the other about transaction, interaction, and program.
The site is in the heart of Laredo, Texas, replacing an existing border crossing station at the north end of the Convent Avenue Bridge. It’s at the heart of Laredo’s San Augustin historic district (the original Laredo, founded in 1755) adjacent to both Los Dos Laredos Park and the historic San Augustin Plaza.
Both markets and border crossings have a rich typological history within architecture. Students will investigate the two programs through precedent, physical, and conceptual study. Some markets operate as large halls, others as a series of kiosks. Light, space, and sequence will be central to this study.
Students will be expected to fully analyze the history, culture, and urban ecology of the surrounding areas in order to approach their building designs.The project will require the study of operational and representational strategies for urbanism. The site and city are prone to flooding from the Rio Grande and to effects of extreme heat and drought.