Robert Siegel Architects

Robert Siegel Architects

New York, NY


U.S. Land Port of Entry in Calais, Maine

It is our hope that this building will represent the aspirations of our time and that history will remember us as the generation who, while confronted by terrorism and violence at home and abroad, created architecture to embody the enduring values of our democracy. 

The border station building type presents an inherent contradiction and this project is no exception: the facility is welcoming but secure, open but closed, flexible but permanent.  In this context, our design creates an inspiring workplace for staff, a memorable experience for travelers and a highly efficient and secure processing facility for vehicles and people. The design concept is a gateway to our country, a visual “open door” inviting freedom and security to be at peace with each other.

This new facility incorporates the stringent security requirements of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security within a dramatic visual gateway into the United States.  Our intention is to create a building that embodies the spirit of the United States as welcoming and secure, now and in the future.

Inspired by the rugged Maine landscape formed by glaciers, we designed an integrated site and building that resonates with the surrounding geographical area.  Surveillance is an essential component of the building’s design. The facility is wrapped with a screen of expanded aluminum mesh that is transparent from within and opaque from the outside, enabling the screen to act as a protective barrier for surveillance. The subtle bending of the aluminum panels creates dynamic conditions of shade and shadow that reflect the constantly changing hues of the sun, seasons, sky and landscape. A concealed courtyard provides a quiet respite from continuous vehicle traffic and allows an uninterrupted vista of the gently rolling hills beyond the site.

Located on a fifty-acre site, the building is approximately one hundred thousand square feet. The facility is part of a larger infrastructure project, which includes the first new international bridge built between the United States and Canada in decades.

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Status: Built
Location: Calais, ME, US
Firm Role: Architect
Additional Credits: Arup - transportation, civil and building engineering
Sasaki Associates - landscape architect
Front - facade consulting
Spencer Finsh - artist