Each day, two out of ten people who enter the United States go through the San Ysidro border, and if you’ve ever been through there, you know how long it takes. Now, the most important point of entry into the US will finally be renovated with optimized lane efficiency to process more cars even quicker — plus the entire project will be net zero. Seattle architecture firm The Miller Hull Partnership is responsible for the new design, which will feature solar energy, rainwater catchment, and target LEED Platinum certification.
The Miller Hull Partnership worked closely with Customs and Border Protection to develop new ways to process cars, buses and pedestrians in order to expedite processing of visitors while improving security, which is the main point of the facility. By being able to process visitors more quickly, the facility will also reduce tail pipe emissions from the cars as they sit in line idling. Designed also be an impressive and uplifting space, the new complex will boast greatly improved aesthetics.
Cars from 34 lanes will enter the new facility through a 725‐foot “pillow” canopy of ETFE that covers the inspection, areas. This canopy provides shade to the officers and cars during inspection and the masts holding the canopy will include security cameras and lighting and will also pump in fresh air. The second inspection area will also be covered in ETFE, protecting those below from the sun and rain, but still allowing a lot of natural daylight in.
The three-phase redevelopment project also includes plans for the construction of new offices, holding areas, processing facilities, walkways, and parking areas. Rainwater will be collected in a 700,000 gallon system that incorporates filtration and infiltration, and the landscaping will use native and drought-tolerant plants. Low-energy lighting will be installed throughout, while photovoltaic panels and a closed‐loop, ground‐coupled geoexchange system will offset the facility’s energy use. Construction is expected to start on phase one next year.