375: Desert Reflections

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The Franklin Mountains overlook 375

375 Transmountain West features miles of highway retaining walls graced with a pattern skin, as described in the previous concept development post. This western portion of El Paso’s 375 Outer Loop establishes new infrastructure for the developing city.

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The patterns emerge from the landscape

The Outer Loop traverses the Franklin Mountains linking East and West El Paso, around the perimeter of the City. The mountainous landscape inspired the walls, which seem to grow directly out of the desert.

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The walls reflect light similarly to the mountains

The work is a sequential ribbon of faceted and undulating pattern motifs based on geometric mountain forms and the local diamondback rattler. The patterns zig-zag up and down the walls, referencing the mountains beyond.

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The pattern sequences activate the walls

The new construction creates a central spine flanked on both sides by one-way frontage roads that lead into neighborhoods and businesses. These walls are seen from the frontage roads and from the new communities near the highway.

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The setting sun warms the site

There are approximately nine interchanges along this route. Each interchange features a bridge with ornamented columns and unique wall patterning.

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The patterning works as light reflectors

The project features 2” relief that responds to light conditions and enhances the experience of travel and destination, marking neighborhood entries. This relief was designed specifically to catch El Paso’s sunlight.

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The intricate patterns are heavily textured

There are over 400,000 sq.ft. of patterned MSE walls linking this project together, promoting mobility and place making. Each wall holds a unique pattern developed from a set series of repeating units.

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The facets come alive in the light

This system allows for each wall to stand as both an individual statement and as a part of a larger cohesive family. This creates a strong holistic project enriched by interesting moments along its miles of walls.

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The pattern density varies across the walls

The pattering varies in density and texture, building compression and relief across the faces of the walls, in large pattern movements. These gestures are mirrored on a smaller scale within the units, with intricately detailed surface textures.

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Pattern bands run through the walls

The height and massiveness of the walls is broken up by the large pattern ribbons that run across their faces. This keeps the eye moving and mitigates the immense scale of the project. Even the columns are addressed, blending this project into the larger highway context of TxDOT’s roadway system.

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The aesthetics are carried onto the highway columns

Team Credits:

Vicki Scuri SiteWorks

Alexandr Polzin





The City of El Paso, TX