US Land Port of Entry / 2009

ArchitectRobert Siegel Architects

Structural EngineerArup

Services EngineerArup

ContractorJ & J Contractors, Inc.

Façade ContractorMG McGrath, Inc.

The new 74,000 ft2 (6,880 m2) international port of entry on the US border with Canada near Calais, Maine, is composed of two separate horizontal volumes that form a gateway on the south bank of the St Croix River.  A landscaped berm and sunken courtyard sit on the site’s central axis, visually shielding a glazed passageway and integrating the building massing and landscape. The custom stamped expanded aluminum rain screen façade bears a subtle faceted geometry, evocative of the glacial granite formation from which it emerges. This mesh cladding acts as a translucent shading screen, permitting border patrol agent surveillance of vehicles, while from the perspective of  drivers and passengers it appears as a solid rock-like surface.  The 3.3 x 10 ft (1 x 3 m) panels are hung from an extruded aluminum support system. Front collaborated with the architects and the GSA Design Excellence program to design and engineered the façades from inception to completion, according to International Building Code ice storm and wind load criteria, and optimized for digital fabrication.