For some architects, the decision not to bid for Donald Trump's US-Mexico border wall is easy. But Aaron Betsky questions whether working the project is as unethical as it first seems in this Opinion column.
"For us it is very simple. We are a small firm and we all agree. We are not going to build Trump's freaking wall. But other firms around town have more trouble with this situation. Maybe the principals want it, because they need work, maybe their bosses in other cities do, maybe even some of the employees want to go for it, but others would just walk out the door. It's a dilemma."
That was how one architect in my native Phoenix answered when I asked him last month whether his firm was going to submit a proposals for the design of the wall President Trump has promised to build "from sea to shining sea" between the United States and Mexico.
For most of the chattering class in architecture the choice is pretty simple. I did not recognise a single firm of design repute among those that in the end submitted their proposals to design the wall ? other than those, like MADE Collective, who put their name in to showcase radical anti-proposals; in this case a free zone, Otra Nation, that would merge, rather than separate, the two nations.
I do not know of any instances of theoreticians ? not even the rabid neo-classicists who love defending order ? suggesting that designing the wall is a good thing.
For most of the chattering class in architecture the choice is pretty simple
So the case is a seemingly simple one. Just as doctors should first do no harm, so architects should not participate in this particular political gambit whose motives most of us find repulsive, to say the least.
Perhaps the sentiments that this very clear case have loosed might even convince the American Institute of Architects to adapt the long-mooted proposal to prohibit its members from building inhumane federal prisons that contain solitary confinement cells and other means ...