Designing the 'port of the future'

Friday 14 Sep 2012

The Miller Hull Partnership designs border crossing facility between U.S. and Mexico

The San Ysidro Land Port of Entry-between San Diego and Tijuana-Mexico is the busiest border crossing in the world, processing around 50,000 vehicles and 25,000 pedestrians per day. The new border station currently under construction in three phases is designed as the 'port of the future' to address GSA goals to update and modernise outdated infrastructure for reduced processing and wait times at the border.

Setting a new bar both operationally and in terms of high-performance buildings at international border crossings worldwide, Phase I of the project targeted for completion in 2015 includes security and inspection enhancements for greater safety and efficiency and is targeted to achieve LEED Platinum certification through energy efficiency and water conservation strategies.

When completed, the project will accommodate a staggering 34 lanes of traffic with 110,000 sq ft of vehicle inspection canopies, and 200,000 sq ft of administrative and operations facilities. Sustainable water management strategies will reduce water use by an anticipated 28 million gallons+ per year including the use of a rainwater reclamation system treating grey and black water on site. Optimised and efficient mechanical equipment combined with photovoltaic panels and a geoexchange heat pump system support a design goal to become the first 24/7/365 facility to achieve net zero energy in the United States. 

To offset the intense operational and regional environment, inspection canopies shelter officers and serve as a visual gateway for millions of people coming into the United States each year. The canopies clad in ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene) provide soft filtered natural light and much-needed shade from intense regional sun, a calming presence amidst chaos. The thin, long span profiles are gracefully supported by 120-ft masts float lighting across the site and offering uninterrupted sight lines for enhanced site surveillance.  Artistic elements throughout the site offer a welcoming aspect to the border crossing experience.

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