Peace Arch Port of Entry

General Services Administration, Blaine, Washington

On the western edge of the continent, a slender ribbon of building stretches across the highway connecting Seattle and Vancouver, its low form slipping gracefully into the landscape. A new gateway to the nation, the Peace Arch U.S. Port of Entry straddles the tidelands of Semiahmoo Bay and the historic gardens of the Peace Arch State Park, balancing building and landscape to frame the historic monument that gives the port its name. The design preserves the character of this scenic roadway and landscape while accommodating 8200 square meters of new construction including a 3200 square meter port building with 10 lanes of inbound primary inspection, 40 spaces of inbound secondary inspection and a new highway bridge.

The Port gains its primary expression from the building's linear roof, which forms a symbolic gesture that echoes the border and unites the disparate program elements in a single line. The roof is made to visually float by pulling the building in from its edge and by a band of continuous glazing at its underside. Where the program requires greater dimension, the building extends out below the roof's constant width in a series of low boxes. The roof is severed in the middle where the north-bound highway passes over the building. Thus, travelers in both directions engage the building in different ways.

By careful site composition and minimizing the visible size of built elements, the design accommodates expanded operational goals with limited disturbance to the surrounding landscape, preserving the character of this scenic roadway. Within its unique setting, the new Peace Arch U.S. Port of Entry creates a bold new gateway to the nation.

Peace Arch has been LEED certified at the gold level and is designated as a GSA Design Excellence project subject to the Federal government's highest standards of design and functional performance. Following an extensive master plan and feasibility study the project is currently in schematic design.


2012 Design Award
AIA Northwest and Pacific Region
2011 Excellence in Concrete, Sustainable Merit
Washington Aggregates and Concrete Association
2011 Excellence in Concrete, Cast-In-Place Structures
Washington Aggregates and Concrete Association
2006 Honor Award, On-the-Boards New Construction Category
General Services Administration 2006 Design Awards
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Related Links

External: GSA 2006 Design Award Winners
News: Groundbreaking for the Peace Arch Port of Entry Redevelopment
News: Peace Arch Port of Entry wins Honor Award
Client: Other projects for General Services Administration