November 29, 2018 – February 9, 2019

Two Sides of the Border

What if we stopped dividing the United States and Mexico into two separate nations, and instead studied their shared histories, cultures, and economies, and acknowledged them as parts of a single region?

During the spring 2018 semester, Tatiana Bilbao organized an academic initiative called Two Sides of the Border: Redefining the Region. The Yale School of Architecture Gallery will exhibit the works of 13 architecture studios from the US and Mexico that participated in the initiative, examining regional issues across the two countries. The current political climate exaggerates differences across the border, and at a moment when migration is at the forefront of political discourse and NAFTA is being renegotiated as the USMCA, the exhibition investigates the urgency of shifting the narrative. To redefine and reimagine the border region as an integrated whole is a critical project for architectural, political, and cultural institutions today.

Two Sides of the Border is an exhibition in the form of an atlas, a book that selectively draws space and defines borders in order to produce a preferred image. The new atlas presents three perspectives: projective, objective, and subjective. The projective atlas displays work from the 13 studios’ examinations which took on interdisciplinary approaches to study and propose projects dealing with cross border issues: migration, farming labor in Ohio and Kansas, and remittance houses in Mexico to name a few. The objective atlas shows new maps by Thomas Paturet, capitalizing on the assumption that maps have the capacity to dissolve North American borders by emphasizing other geospatial relationships. These are displayed alongside historic maps presenting 400 years of shifting borders in the region, destabilizing the collective imagination of the border. The subjective atlas is a photo essay by the photographer Iwan Baan who traveled to each of the studio sites to capture their changing landscapes and architecture’s role in these regional relationships.

Two Sides of the Border aims to redefine the region and simultaneously is a collaborative project that redefines North American pedagogy. The academic initiative fluidly spans language, borders, institutions and nationalities—all based on the shared interest in developing a comprehensive and unified imagination of the region.

The exhibition is organized by the Mexico City-based architect and educator Tatiana Bilbao and is designed and curated by NILE.

The studios included in the show are:

  • Tatiana Bilbao and Andrei Harwell’s studio on reinvigorating rural Mexico, at the Yale School of Architecture;
  • Tatiana Bilbao and Nile Greenberg’s studio on Remittance Homes, at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation;

  • Jorge Eduardo Galvan Salinas’s studio on downtown Monterrey, at the Universidad de Monterrey;

  • Juan Pablo Serrano Orozco’s studio on development outside Mexico City, at the Universidad Iberoamericano;

  • Karolina Czeczek’s studio on producing a food hub in the Ohio Valley, at the University of Cincinnati;

  • Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo’s studio on food production in Ulysses, Kansas, at The Cooper Union;

  • Derek Delekamp and Rozana Montiel’s studio on reconceiving the Tijuana−San Diego border, at Cornell University Architecture, Art, and Planning;

  • Raveevarn Choksombatchai’s studio on conceptual border strategies, at University of California, Berkeley;

  • Stephen Mueller’s studio on border dust, at Texas Tech University;

  • Ersela Kripa’s studio on cross-border pollutants, at Texas Tech University;

  • Kathy Velikov’s studio on border water conditions, at Taubman College, University of Michigan;

  • Juan Miro’s studio studying Monterrey and Austin, Texas, at the University of Texas at Austin;

  • Robert Hutchison and Jeff Hou’s studio on urbanism in Mexico City, at University of Washington.

Exhibition credits

Conception: Tatiana Bilbao
Curator: NILE

Director of Exhibitions: Andrew Benner
Exhibitions Coordinator: Alison Walsh

Two Sides of the Border is generously supported by Sasha C. Bass and sponsored by Maharam.

The Yale School of Architecture’s exhibition program is supported in part by the Fred Koetter Exhibitions Fund, the James Wilder Green Dean’s Resource Fund, the Kibel Foundation Fund, the Nitkin Family Dean’s Discretionary Fund in Architecture, the Pickard Chilton Dean’s Resource Fund, the Paul Rudolph Publication Fund, the Robert A.M. Stern Fund, the Rutherford Trowbridge Memorial Fund, and the School of Architecture Exhibitions Fund.