The recent installation Open Border is a long wall, designed by the Dutch Atelier Ari, placed perpendicular to the skating trail on the Assiniboine River in Winnipeg, Canada. The red, almost four-metre high barrier spans the river, creates a strong border, and is clearly visible in the contrasting white snowy landscape. The double wall was clad with red insulating strips that keep the cold wind out. The inner walls create a series of interlinked spaces. Skaters and pedestrians cross the border over the full length. Inside the wall the atmosphere feels warmer, a friendly place that invites people to play and come together. The structure was fixed to the ground via simple, red painted wooden structures that were covered by PVC slabs
Open Border responds to the tense political climate. The completion of the project is at the same time that the United States president confirms his plans for the construction of a wall along the Mexican border and chooses to drastically close the borders for several Muslim countries.
The project was built in January 2017 nearby The Forks on the Red River Mutual Trail. The Forks is the centre of the very isolated city, at the meeting point of the Red River and the Assiniboine River. In winter, temperatures can drop to more than minus forty degrees Celsius.
Open Border was part of the 2017 Warming Huts Competition. Through an open competition, each year, a number of combinations of architects and artists are selected to build a pavilion along the skating trail.