Miami Firm Proposes "Sustainable" Hipster Moat for Trump's Racist Wall

Miami Firm Proposes "Sustainable" Hipster Moat for Trump's Racist Wall
DOMO Architecture
Beginning in the late 1920s, famed German fashion designer Hugo Boss supplied uniforms for the German Nazi Party. We bring this up not because Donald Trump is the next reincarnation of Adolf Hitler (not yet!), but because the decision has haunted the Boss brand for nearly 100 years. It's etched into political and fashion history.

The story is relevant today because one boneheaded Miami design firm, Domo Architecture, has proposed yet another plan that, if carried out, will haunt its architects for the rest of their lives: Domo has pitched a hipster, "sustainable" design concept for Trump's racist border wall, which is expressly designed to keep out the Mexican people Trump has slandered as "criminals" and "rapists."

If built, the wall would certainly tear apart families and communities, waste billions of dollars of taxpayer money, and have a negligible impact on actual immigration statistics or American safety. Instead, the wall would simply stand as one of the largest examples of government waste in American history and an enduring symbol of American racism and xenophobia. It's basically a reverse Statue of Liberty.

So, as some sort of publicity stunt, the Miami Beach-based Domo has pitched a remarkably misguided design for the wall made from über-hip shipping containers and recycled content.

The design basically smashes together America's two most easily despised demographics: Trumpist racists and white millennial gentrifiers.

Reached by phone, an assistant at Domo said the designers behind the project were not available to speak. They did not immediately respond to a followup email either.

But according to Politico, which interviewed the project's lead designer, Franciso Llado, yesterday, the company has so far refused to discuss the political connotations behind the wall and instead is looking at the gigantic barrier as simply an engineering challenge. It just happens to be one that's designed to keep brown people out of America!

According to Llado's Facebook account, he himself is an immigrant from Spain.

Domo basically admitted to Politico that the project is far larger than anything the firm has ever designed, thus likely making it one of the most misguided publicity stunts in American history. The company's news release about the project, issued in December, is startlingly and hilariously callous.

"By removing the idea of a wall or a fence, we remove the negative social, cultural, and physical connotations associated with visual and physical barriers," the company wrote online.

Sure, the firm's architects aren't going to build a wall — but the project fails to mention they're just proposing a 25-foot-deep moat instead. Which absolutely has negative connotations.

Instead of building a wall into the sky, Domo proposes digging what is basically a trench across the border and filling it with used shipping containers. The land would be cut down and sloped to create a gradual gradient that would lead to a wall:

click to enlarge DOMO ARCHITECTURE
DOMO Architecture
But other sections of the project would just be filled with water, like a moat.
click to enlarge DOMO ARCHITECTURE
DOMO Architecture
"As stewards of the land, our proposal is sustainable, and aims to blend into nature while maintaining functionality," the company wrote online.

Naturally, when Domo's corporate Twitter account blasted out a link to yesterday's Politico story, scores of users began shaming the firm online. Domo has since deleted its tweet, but New Times was able to take some screenshots before the thread went dark:
Two urbanists on the West Coast even went so far as to create the hashtag #DOMODesigns and spent last night trolling the firm by imagining how its techniques would have sounded when applied to past historical injustices:
The Department of Homeland Security is accepting proposals for the wall design until March 20. Domo architects told Politico yesterday they expect that the shipping-container-moat idea will actually be cheaper than building a towering wall from concrete or steel.

In addition to Domo's own misguided PR, a bunch of architecture blogs — including the Real Deal South Florida — have published glowing or uncritical reviews of the design without fully dealing with the fact that the company is pitching a hipster design for a wall motivated by racism.

Astoundingly, Domo is also proposing letting people live inside the shipping containers — though we can't imagine the sort of person who'd get excited about living in a symbol of racism that's also crawling with U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.