Architectural changes on Spain’s Southern Border: seal, delay and contain

Publication date:
Antonio Giraldez López, investigador predoctoral, Programa de Proyectos Arquitectónicos Avanzados, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.

In the past 15 years a series of apparently unconnected architectural events and assemblies have appeared in the immediate vicinity of Spain’s Southern Border to improve the constructed border’s functionality and capacity to respond. This paper addresses the dynamic shift the contemporary border is undergoing according to the detection of three strategies: seal, delay and contain. The critical cartography and forensic reconstruction of a series of events allow us to demonstrate the typological transformation shifting the weight of stable constructions to dynamic and instantaneous assemblies. These can no longer be said to be static solutions, but a territorial mechanism or assembly that configure and define the border. While the border architecture is a clear materialisation of sovereignty, it is necessary to question the territorial model, which is no longer represented by the rule but by the condition of operability.

Keywords: Southern Border, Spain, migrations, border, forensic architecture, Ceuta, securitarian architecture, borderscapes

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How to cite this article:
Giráldez López, Antonio. «Cambios arquitectónicos en la Frontera Sur de España: impermeabilizar, retardar y contener». Revista CIDOB d’Afers Internacionals, n.º 122 (septiembre de 2019), p. 61-83. DOI: