Text description provided by the architects. 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 Warroad, Minnesota 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 Minnesota-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.
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.
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.