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GSA Helps Unveil Historic Land Port

As prepared for delivery.

Remarks By
Les Shepherd
Chief Architect
U.S. General Services Administration
Calais Land Port of Entry Opening
Calais, Maine
November 23, 2009

 

Thank you, Glenn Rotondo.

Washington, DC, to Calais, Maine, is a journey. But let me assure you this journey is worth the effort.

In the spectrum of GSA projects, Land Ports of Entry are among the most interesting.  They are also among the most challenging.  They have complex programs.  They are shared by multiple agencies.  And they must address issues ranging from security and transportation to sustainability, commerce, and tourism.  Above all, they must be welcoming gateways to our nation and expressions of our democracy and values.

Calais does all of this and more.  It is fine example of all that we hope to achieve with our Design Excellence Program.  Its form and layout are clear and functional.  The bridge and highways are complete.  This crossing is, indeed, open and invites economic development in the exchange of people and commerce between two great nations. 

At an entirely different scale, the details of the Calais Land Port of Entry are compelling – the subtle undulations and transparency of the facades; the echoes of the glacial terrain in the bolder-strewn open space between the two buildings, the strong horizontal lines and the field of weather vanes that embrace the landscape.  Nicely done!

Then there are the sustainable features of the complex, some of which were slated to be left out of the final construction, until an infusion of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds ensured their inclusion. Today – instead of the LEED Silver rating once anticipated we expect this building to be certified as LEED Gold – no small achievement for a facility that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in a climate that can have its chilling moments.  The hills filter the water and guide it back to the aquifer.  The interior is open and filled with natural light.  And everything has been done to conserve energy and water.  Calais is a model of sustainable excellence.

As Chief Architect, I can assure you that we are very proud of Calais.  I am delighted to join you for this celebration.  And I hope you will take advantage of this gathering, if you haven’t already, to explore and appreciate this outstanding Land Port of Entry project.

Congratulations and thanks to the client teams, the design team, the construction team, and project managers who worked so hard to make this a reality.  This is Design Excellence at its best.  Well done!