The idea of a border wall between Mexico and the US is a pretty divisive issue, but maybe it doesn’t need to be. Ronald Rael, an architecture professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and Virginia San Fratello, an associate professor of design at San Jose State University, came up with the idea of a “Teeter-Totter Wall.” Using the border wall as a fulcrum, Rael installed three pink seesaws that allow people—especially children—on both sides of the wall to play and interact together.
The idea was originally a concept for a book, “Borderwall as Architecture,” which, according to UC-Berkeley, uses “humor and inventiveness to address the futility of building barriers.” It took ten years, but the concept is now a reality. The seesaws were installed in Sunland Park, New Mexico, which is separated from Ciudad Juarez in Mexico by a section of the fence.
According to Snopes, the seesaws were only up for about a day, but the message was still sent. For Rael, the idea was to “reimagine, hyperbolize, or question the wall and its construction, cost, performance, and meaning.” Mexican actor Mauricio Martinez posted a video of the seesaw and drew millions of views to his Twitter account. For San Fratello, the idea of the seesaw was to draw attention to what the wall was doing to everyday life for many people. “We frequently travel through Southern California, Arizona, and Texas,” said San Fratello in an interview, “and we saw portions of the wall being built or beefed up. We saw how it was changing people’s lives. We saw that disruption and wanted to think about scenarios that would bring people together.”
The seesaw isn’t the only idea being proposed for the wall. Another concept imagines the wall as a giant xylophone, with the panels acting as the musical keys. Rael and San Fratello came up with an idea of building a food cart into the wall so that Mexican food can be shred through the slats with diners sitting at counters on both sides.