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This border wall is now a seesaw playground3 min read

January 24, 2021 2 min read


This border wall is now a seesaw playground3 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes
A little girl plays on the seesaw at the border. Photo: Rael San Fratello

Creating something beautiful and meaningful out of something negative is always a good thing. Here’s the perfect example of that. The Teeter-Totter Wall, a temporary interactive installation was set up in 2019, and consists of three bright pink teeter-totters or seesaws that have been slotted into the gaps of the steel border wall that separates the US and Mexico.

The installation, designed by two California-based architects has won the 2020 Beazley Design of the Year – an annual exhibition that is organised by London’s Design Museum.

The seesaws allowed children from El Paso in Texas (US) and those from the Anapra community in Mexico to play together, despite the 20-foot wall that separates them. This wall stands on the most-crossed border in the world, and has been a point of contention for several years.

Ronald Rael in front of pictures of his installation.
Photo: What Design Can Do

Teeter-Totter Wall was designed in collaboration with Juárez artist collective Colectivo Chopeke. “What you do on one side has an impact on the other,” one of the architects, Ronald Rael, had told CNN back in 2019, “and that’s what a seesaw is.”

Due to the sensitive nature of the wall, the project took ten years in the making, and was live for just 20 minutes. However, in that short span of time, it went viral, and according to Rael, the event brought a lot of joy and a sense of togetherness.

Why is there a wall between Mexico and the US?

The US-Mexico border wall at Sunland Park, U.S. opposite the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez. Photo: Reuters

The Mexico-United States barrier, also known as the border wall, is a series of vertical barriers along the border of the two countries. The reason it was put up was to reduce illegal immigration from Mexico to the US. Sensors, cameras, border patrol and other surveillance equipment can be found along this wall or fence. The total length of the border is 3,145 km.

Owliver’s Obscure Facts

Five more prizes were awarded for each of the categories of nominees, and one of them is a moveable school called “ModSkool,” designed by the Dehli-based Social Design Collaborative.

Sources: CNN, Wikipedia