Past the guarded schoolyards, the boarded-up churches, (…),

past newspapered windows of tenements, along the violated,

the prosecuted citizenry, throughout this

storied, buttressed, scavenged, policed

city I call home, in which I am a guest.

—Li-Young Lee, “The City in which I love you”

Bordering On :

A symposium hosted by the LSU School of Architecture

They can be tangible, solid, concrete, palpable, impenetrable, aggressive. They can be implicit, abstract, undetectable, tacit, porous and soft. Spatial borders – visible or invisible – define our encounter with the world around us, from the small scale of the neighborhood to that of the nation. They define our engagement with the public shared place of human interaction, and shape our social, political, ethical and personal stand as architects and world citizens. 

From their mythical origins, as defensive mechanisms but also wondrous structures that create order in a city, to their transformation into "no man's land" in the modern nation, and eventually into a contemporary mechanism of exclusion and control, borders have always been paradigmatic for architecture. In a discipline that their creation – in multifarious scales and diverse conditions – is often celebrated and valorized as part of the creative process, how do we address the existing countless political borders that define our nowadays global condition?

As the emotional environment of our creations, the embodied atmosphere of our architecture, the actual physical context of our métier, the presence of these borders demands our attention. How do we articulate fractures, openings and passages that access desires, needs, cultures and moments of encounter? The symposium opens the conversation on what exists “past the buttressed, scavenged and policed’’ understanding of borders in a local, national and international scale and aspires to look into borders as the possibility for a meaningful adjacency and spatial interexchange.