First Year Architecture Student Wins Honorable Mention in National Competition

Emma Eitzen, an architecture student at the University of Oklahoma, was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Build That Park! Binational Competition for a Design 2 final project she created as a first-year student. The competition challenged entries to design a truly binational park accessible to both Mexico and the U.S. The vision of this binational park is based around Friendship Park, a small park that stretches along the US-Mexico border in the San Diego-Tijuana area. While the park’s original purpose was to serve as a symbol of friendship between the two countries as well as be a meeting place for citizens of the U.S. and Mexico, it is now heavily monitored by border patrols on the U.S. side. 

The Build That Park! Binational Competition asks for designers to take inspiration from the original vision of the space and realize this vision through the engagement, camaraderie, and advocacy of the peoples of both nations.  

Eitzen participated in the “Courtyard for Free Speech” competition. This phase of the competition asked entries to design a 200’ x 200’ courtyard centered on the international border line. The courtyard could be any distance from the sea, and the walls of the courtyard could be any height and made of any material. The courtyard could be for any use, and there were no programmatic requirements. Eitzen’s design was awarded one of two Honorable Mentions. Her design features a clustering of bamboo domes that work to create a secure space straddling the border.  

The Friends of Friendship Park (host of the competition) is a non-partisan, grassroots coalition of individuals and organizations advocating for increased public access to the historic meeting place of Friendship Park. Their objective for this competition is to provide maximum freedom so that participants may engage in the project without constraints in the most creative way to create a key site. 

Check out Eitzen’s submission below! 

Congratulations on your achievement, Emma!