As someone who has spent four decades hearing the word “prototype” and creating prototypes, I jump every time I hear the word. But these eight prototypes are of a different kind, the type that may divide one country from another.
Everyone has heard about President Trump’s proposed WALL –yes, in capital letters—to provide better border protection between the United States and Mexico, and, more importantly, to fulfill one of his presidential campaign’s centerpiece promises. While I am not here to discuss the merits of that Trump idea, I found it interesting to hear so much in the news the past week about the eight prototypes that have made it to the finals as the US selects the one prototype that will serve to build the wall across a stretch of 3220 kilometers.
I think that when it comes to selecting prototypes, three is a good number. It allows for a more focused discussion. Or, maybe that is what works best for prototypes for the type of work we as designers do, and may not necessarily apply to a gigantic project such as the building of this wall.
If those who have presented these prototypes are like we are when we pitch our projects, they will be nervous with anticipation and will be preparing themselves both for victory and defeat.
During my four-decade career I have been on both sides of the “pitch wall”. When you win, you always take a good look at those competitors you have won over, to learn from the experience. Often, you feel honored when the competition is phenomenal. When you lose, that is when you try to get hold of what the competition presented, to learn from that experience too.
So, I can only imagine—and sympathize—with those eight vendors who now have presented their best work for a proposed wall and will wait patiently to get the results.
Four of the prototypes are made from concrete and are competing for the chance to be used for the concrete portions of the wall.
The other four prototypes are made from non-concrete materials that are competing to be used for the stretches of barrier that can be seen through.
All are between 18 and 30 feet high.
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