U.S. Land Port of Entry / Julie Snow Architects

© Paul Crosby

Designed by Julie Snow Architects, the U.S. Land Port of Entry is recipient of a 2011 National Institute Honor Award for Architecture. Located in , the facility supports the mission-driven demands of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the federal agency responsible for securing the nation’s borders and promoting legal trade and travel. Conceived as a specific response to the vast open landscape along the -Canadian border, its form reiterates the dominant horizon of the landscape while making reference to the East-West border. Inflected building forms facilitate intuitive use by visitors, the officers’ ability to survey the entire site, and vehicle access to secondary and commercial inspection areas.

Architects: Julie Snow Architects, Inc.
Location: Warroad, Minnesota, USA
Principal: Julie Snow, FAIA
Project Lead Designer: Matthew Kreilich, AIA, LEED AP
Project Manager: Connie Lindor, Tyson Mcelvain, AIA, LEED AP
Project Architects: Tyson Mcelvain, AIA
Project Team: Jim Larson, Dan Winden, Pauv Thouk
Interior Designer: Julie Snow Architects, Inc.
Mechanical Engineer: Sebesta Blomberg
Structural Engineer: Meyer, Borgman, Johnson
Electrical Engineer: Sebesta Blomberg
Civil engineer: Jacobs Engineering
Geotechnical engineer: Key Engineering
Construction Manager: Kraus Anderson Construction
General Contractor: Kraus Anderson Construction
Landscape Architect: coen + partners
Client/Owner: U.S. General Services Administration
Lighting designer: Sebesta Blomberg
Project Area: 40,108 sqf
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Paul Crosby

© Paul Crosby

The entire facility is clad in sustainably harvested cedar siding, embracing the “north-woods” identity of the region. Vehicular inspection areas (experienced primarily from the car) and the public spaces use expanses of glass and warm, stained cedar siding to create a transparent, welcoming presence. The exterior cedar siding is finished in a black stain, anchoring the building to its site. This strong contrast reinforces the threshold, creating a material warmth and richness in the cold winter months for officers and visitors through the port.


The port design manages a complex set of operational issues including site circulation of commercial, POV, and recreational traffic, state of the art vehicle inspection areas, holding areas, and officer training and work areas. All while integrating the latest technologies for securing the border and meeting the demands of an energy efficient and sustainable building. Life cycle cost analysis was used to ensure that long term cost and energy reductions were met and the project is in line to receive LEED Silver Certification. Geothermal heating and cooling, rain water capture, and daylight harvesting are among just a few of the strategies that allowed the design team to meet this certification. In addition to meeting these programmatic and operational issues, the port must also stand as a gateway to our nation, representing the open and democratic values of transparency, dignity, fairness and humaneness of our federal government.

© Paul Crosby

The Warroad Land Port of Entry sets a new standard for remote, small ports in achieving the highest design standard for public buildings, conveying the ideals of our country while advancing the efficiency and comfort of federal officers. Its success is defined not only by the impact of its design, but also its open, timely, collaborative process that respects the nation’s fiscal and natural resources. The design’s success can be measured across all standards of design performance.

site plan

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "U.S. Land Port of Entry / Julie Snow Architects" 21 Feb 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=112593>
  • http://www.dailyarchitecture.com DailyArchitecture

    How come it is these remote little used land ports of entry that always look so nice? Bet the people who work there love going to work, at least when they don’t have to stand out in the cold!