Arquine Call for Entries / Threshold of the Americas

The Arquine International Architecture Competition has been held since 1998 and aims to explore issues of significance and relevance for society as a whole, foster new platforms for dialogue and promote the involvement of architects in responding to specific problems, while encouraging local and international competition and participation.

Over time it has become one of the design competitions in the field of architecture with the broadest scope and reach. Last year over 420 teams from 22 countries around the world sent proposals. 

On this occasion Arquine addresses an issue of timeless importance that will open up new possibilities of discussion, with an open, international call for entries for the design of the threshold between Tijuana and San Ysidro: the transit point that responds to the programmatic needs of those who cross the border here. At the same time it should be viewed as a point of reference of a monumental nature for the busiest border in the world.

According to the May 2013 report by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), every year 13,672,329 automobiles cross the border at the Tijuana - San Ysidro border crossing—double the number of cars on the streets of Sao Paulo and four times the number in Mexico City—while the total number of passengers they convey amounts to 34,180,000—almost equal to the population of Canada. On average they take 45 minutes to cross, according to a study by the Business Advisory Board of Tijuana. Meanwhile, the number of border crossings made on foot totals 9 million individuals. As a result the zone is constantly bustling with activity, occupied by different kinds of people—those who cross, those who wish to cross and those who have failed to cross—an accumulation of people who occupy the space on a practically permanent basis, in a perennial state of indefinite waiting. Meanwhile, the State appears unable to solve the lack of clarity in migration issues, or provide the minimum conditions of security and protection the location demands. 

More information after the break.


About the competition

The referred competition, judged by a jury, will be international, anonymous and of open character; it will be single- staged and governed by the dispositions hereby established in the following rules. 

Contestants are committed to accept and compliance of each and every part of the governing dispositions (technical and procedural) established in these rules, from the moment they formalize their participation.  


The competition for the Americas threshold by Arquine, who will have the responsibility of organize the administrative and technical information before and after the course of the competition, meet the consultations engaged participants and give appropriate responses, based on the provisions of the present bases, keeping the minutes of the plenary meeting and the minutes Jury awards and also all actions the good conduct of this contest.

The correspondence of all kind relating to this Contest will be sent to the e-mail address: 


“The continued presence of the twin phenomena, migration and tourism, endow the busiest border crossing in the world with a unique and unprecedented permanence.” It is for this reason that the development of a threshold site is proposed as a signal of a change in thinking. The Threshold of the Americas should be of a dichotomous character, as both a place to remain and to transit at once. It should be a dwelling-place for migrants, regardless of their condition, whether they are entering, leaving or waiting. It should also be a reference point for tourists who explore this space, replete with similar and contradictory signals. Finally, it should serve as a support structure for residents on both Mexican and U.S. sides of the border. Arquine is calling for entries to design an architectural intervention at this emblematic point on the continent, with the design of a center providing support and assistance to emigrants and immigrants, a space understood both as a landmark and a bridge that contributes to the urban recovery of the zone and becomes a reference point on the busiest border in the world.

About the contestants

The invitation is open to architects and architecture students all over the world. Teams, collective and individual participants are welcome. The groups may incorporate professionals or students from other disciplines so long as the team leader or representative is an architect or architecture student.

No registry of confirmation from the participant’s college is necessary.

Under no circumstance members of one team are allowed to participate with a different team.   

Participation is not permitted to:

• Members of the Jury or Arquine staff.

• Next to any kind of Jury members, spouses or any person maintaining a stable friendly, familiar or professional relationship with members of the Jury. 

Information and inquiries

The questions and answers period has a duration of 30 calendar days.

Contestants may submit written questions and doubts to The e-mail account used for registration must be used for this purpose, as e-mails from a different account will not be answered.

All doubts and questions shall be answered within a 7 calendar days period. A complete and anonymous FAQ section will be made available to all participants. 

The complete list of FAQ as well as these stipulations and rules shall also be given to the jurors.

Any consideration and decision derived from the answers given to the questions submitted will instantly become part of the rules and regulations of the competition and all parts are bound to abide by them. The complete FAQ list will be posted on Arquine’s website on the stipulated date in the calendar.


All projects will be identified by a code that the system will generate at the moment of registration. This code must be visible on the upper right corner of your project board (digital) and the file sent in will only be named with said code.

All projects handed late or that do not meet the anonymity requirements will be automatically excluded from the competition. 

Documentation Needed

Digital image (digital board) of the entirety of your project. This Board must contain all the necessary information to explain and understand the proposal.

It is essential that the image submitted at least contain the following: 

General plans and layouts of the project, including floor plans and sections, scaled adequately to ensure reading and comprehension of the plans.

- Diagrams, views, sketches, renderings, or any other form of visual representation that will help explain the project.

- A 250 word-long (max) descriptive text. Any text or description can only be delivered in either Spanish or English.

- The image or board must comply with the following format: rectangular in shape, 60cm high by 90cm long (i.e. horizontal display), 72 dpi, and only .JPG will be accepted. The file must be no larger than 5MB in order to facilitate uploads and downloads.

Remember that the file name must be the same as the user code you will be given upon registration. No other format or delivery style will be accepted. Only projects that have been uploaded into the system before the deadline is due will be subject to evaluation by the Jury. 


Once the competition has ended, those projects that stood out the most will be shown in a public exposition that will travel the country. This exposition will showcase the projects along with the identity of the authors. The place and date for the beginning of the exposition will be posted online 30 days after the results are published.

Thus it hereby remains expressly established that the organizers of the contest have the right to reproduce each project and proposal, for their showcasing and publishing. The contestants may choose to not have their projects showcased or published should they not be selected as winners or honorable mentions, but this will have to be expressly requested. 


The prizes will be the following:

- 1st Prize: $100,000.- MNX and a collection of Arquine Books.

- 2nd Prize: $60,000.- MNX and a collection of Arquine Books.

- 3rd Prize: $30,000.- MNX and a collection of Arquine Books.

- Honorable mentions: The Jury is allowed to give out four mentions to four projects that they feel deserve this recognition.

Rights and Intellectual Property

The contestants maintain the Intellectual property of the presented work, conceding all exhibition, publishing and reproduction rights and any other right corresponding to the objective of the contest to Arquine, who is hereby bound to make known the authors of each project in every publication exposition or event in which the work is showcased.

By their part the contestants are hereby bound to mention and reference the organizing parties of the contest in any later publication where the work might appear. 

Architects, Engineers or any Technician or builder other than the original authors for the development of any other project cannot utilize the projects showcased. Given the case, any contestant that wishes to remain in anonymity shall remain so through expressed request. 


The key to any good contest lies with the Jury. Their experience and the method of evaluation to be used guarantee the contest’s transparency and quality. Plurality is an important part of the jury pool and something we look for. The members of the jury will be announced in our website.

A document with the Jury’s decision will be drawn out, explaining the reasoning behind the selection of the wining projects. Here each Jury member will also provide a brief explanation for why they voted as they did. 

To this effect the Jury will publicly state the motives behind their decision and selection of the wining proposal, and why they feel this particular project stands out from those in 2nd and 3rd place, and thus deserves the recognition. 

The Jury will also have to explain the reasons for any honorable mentions they think are deserved.

All of the before mentioned will form part of the final document that will be posted on the contest’s webpage on the day of the award ceremony. 

Composition of the Jury

Subject to change.

• Raul Cardenas

Born in Mazatlan, Sinaloa in 1969. He studied architecture at Universidad Iberoamericana Tijuana, and has an Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego. Founder of "Trorolab", a group of art, workshop and laboratory of environment studies, that since 1995 their research focuses on understanding the idea of quality of life. He has taught at both universities where he studied besides the University of Rennes, France. In October, 2011 he won the award for best artistic intervention of social impact by Harvard's Cultural Agents Initiative. 

• Rodolfo Argote

Born in Mexicali, Baja California and studied architecture at Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana in Mexico City, has a master in Urban Development from the Universidad Iberoamericana Tijuana. He is the director of Territorial Planning at the Institute fot Metropolitan Planning at the XX Municipality of Tijuana. He also has unfolded professionally as director of the School of Architecture, Director of the Master in Urban Development and Director of Works and Projects, all of them at the Universidad IberoamericanaTijuana. 

• Francisco Pardo

Graduated from the Universidad Anahuac in Mexico City in 1997. He has a master in Architecural Design from the University of Columbia. He founded with Julio Amezcua the architecture firm AT 103, whose work includes a wide range of scales, from pieces of art to urban projects, such is the case of residential, cultural and institutional buildings, landscape projects and master plans. The designed the Ave Fenix fire station, which in 2008 won the silver medal at the Mexican Biennial and first prize in the International Design Festival. 

• Ethel Baraona Pohl 

Co-founder of DPR-Barcelona which is an innovative publishing company based in Spain, specialized in high quality architecture and design books. Ethel's work is related to a number of technical publications in the architectural field. Her work shows a clear way to bring the contents to the public, their experimental book PIEL.SKIN transcends the boundaries between time and space from conventional publications. 

• Grant Kester

Grant Kester is Professor of Art History and Director of the University Art Gallery in the Visual Arts department at the University of California, San Diego. Kester is one of the leading figures in the emerging critical dialogue around “relational” or “dialogical” art practices. His publications include Art, Activism and Oppositionality: Essays from Afterimage, Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art and The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context. He is currently completing an anthology of writings by art collectives working in Latin America, in collaboration with Bill Kelley. 

Functions of the Jury

The Jury has the power to exclude any project for the following reasons:

- Project handed in past the deadline, or failing to meet the requirements established in these rules.

- Breaking anonymity, either by revealing the identity of the author in any way or by presenting graphic elements that relate or identify with the project’s author.

- Proof of an attempt to contact or coerce any member of the Jury in any way.    

Procedure for judgment

The Jury will be granted a period of three week to review and analyze all of the entries received. Each member of the Jury will be given access to the system where they can evaluate every proposal, grading each on a scale of 1 to 3.  

Following this three-week period, the Jury will come together in a plenary session to further analyze and discus each project. The proposals selected during this meeting, along with those that received the highest points during the digital review will be projected on a screen and printed, respectively. 

The discussion and analysis that follow will determine the final decision. Before any consideration is made on the proposals, each project will have to be granted a final approval for participation.

The Jury will have to agree on an appropriate selection procedure, according to the amount and quality of the participating projects. Should there be a draw between two projects; further discussion shall take place until a new decision is reached. 

The results of the contest will be published on Arquine’s website.

All documents derived from the procedure followed to reach a verdict are the property of Arquine.

The Jury is hereby bound to decide on a winner and under no circunstance can they declare the prizes unassigned.    

All of the graphical documents received for every one of the winning projects as well as the honorable mentions, and the names of all contestants that have not expressly requested to remain anonymous, will be posted online. 


September 19, 2013: Launch of the bid announcement 

October 1, 2013: Start of entries

November 5, 2013: Start of consultation period

November 26, 2013: Completion period of consultation

December 20, 2013: Completing first registration stage

February 21, 2014: Closing date for entries

February 24, 2014: Deadline for sending proposals    

February 28, 2014: Beginning of Jury deliberation    

March 22, 2014: Jury's verdict 

March 26, 2014: Announcement of results

May 2, 2014: Awards

May 2, 2014: Launch of the publication and exhibition    




The fee will have to be paid by each team or individual contestant in order to be officially registered.    

First registration period:cOctober 1st to December 20th, 2013 

Amount: US$90.

Second registration period: December 21th, 2013 to February 17th, 2014

Amount: US$120.

Methods of Payment

Credit or debit card payment through PayPal, Mercado Pago or any other online payment system is accepted, with Visa or MasterCard.

Wire or bank transfer information: Beneficiary: Arquine 

Bank: BBVA

Bancomer CLABE: 012180 001443769433 (within Mexico)

Swift: BCMRMXMMPYM (outside Mexico)

Deposit (only within Mexico):

Referenced Deposits can be made in any bank branch within the country for the correct amount, depending on the registration period, with the following information: Beneficiary: Arquine Bank:

Bank: BBVA Bancomer 

Account: 0144376943    

Once payment is fulfilled, the contestant must send an e-mail with a copy of the receipt. The email must also contain all of the contestant’s information. A response will be sent out to each contestant that has sent in his/her information with a registration key that can be used to create a username and password, therefore be granted access to the system. 

The cost of the fee is per team and not per participant. Each contribution is considered a participation, so a person can participate more than once, provided you use the user number assigned to each proposal. 

Confirmation of participants    

Remember that if you submitted your entry fee through a deposit, or wire transfer you will be required to send an e- mail, with a copy of the receipt, to in order to get back your confirmation and the information necessary to access the system.

With the confirmation, each contestant will receive the username and password within a maximum of 72 hours. With these data you can enter the system and follow the instructions. Upon receiving confirmation of participation in your inbox, you will receive a user name and password that will allow you to access the system Arquine Contest.

Once in the system, is necessary to edit and fill out the information of each team, and download the information in order to develop the project proposal. 

The email address with each completed registration must belong to the representative team. This will be the spokesperson responsible for the whole team throughout the duration of the competition. 

This event was submitted by an ArchDaily user. If you'd like to submit an event, please use our "Submit a Event" form. The views expressed in announcements submitted by ArchDaily users do not necessarily reflect the views of ArchDaily.

Cite: "Arquine Call for Entries / Threshold of the Americas" [Convocatoria Concurso Umbral de las Américas] 19 Nov 2013. ArchDaily. (Trans. Baratto, Romullo) Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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