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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

United States Land Port of Entry in Calais, Maine by Robert Siegel Architects

March 1st, 2012 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: Robert Siegel Architects

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.


  • Architect: Robert Siegel Architects
  • Name of Project: United States Land Port of Entry in Calais, Maine
  • Location: Calais, Maine
  • Completion: November 2009
  • Category: Institutional
  • Size: 100,000 sf building and canopies, 50 acre site
  • Cost: $58,820,150

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 must create 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.



Inspired by the rugged Maine landscape formed by glaciers, the design integrates site and building to resonate with the enduring glacial geology of the area.  Inspection processes are separated with two building masses placed centrally at the high point of the site.  This provides continuous visual surveillance of vehicle movement while creating a secure courtyard for officers.



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 outside. The subtle bending of the aluminum panels creates dynamic conditions of shade and shadow that reflect 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 to the gently rolling hills beyond.



The building, located on a fifty-acre site, is approximately one hundred thousand square feet. This land port of entry is now the eighth busiest international crossing on the border with Canada. 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.


Sustainable Design

The new USPLOE in Calais received a LEED Gold rating from the USGBC. The following are highlights of its green features:

  • Bioswales naturally filter water back to the aquifer
  • Tempered microclimate created by sitting of building masses
  • Clean supply air is filtered through vegetated courtyard
  • Low V.O.C. (volatile organic compounds) and recycled finish materials are used throughout
  • Natural light is provided for every occupied space
  • Reduced electrical use by day-lighting, efficient fixtures and metal screen
  • Low maintenance native plant species are used throughout the landscape
  • Dual-flush toilets and waterless urinals reduce water consumption



Site Plan

Wall Section

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Category: Infrastructure

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