Melania The Wall


There is a wall that splits cities apart. It splits two countries without a doubt.

The president wants to build a new wall —

higher and smarter than was ever before.

The new wall is made of stainless steel

It has high-end sensors and systems built-in.

Check the protection seismic machine

It keeps one that tunnels the earth within.

Look at those sensors attached to the wall

They see that no one can climb over all.

Think of those lasers detecting a plane

Illegally entering the USA.

The system was launched and starts to declare

Its mission to keep all intruders at bay.

Instead she looked up why it exists.

Nothing is clear… “Why am I here?”

“I am here to protect people from people

The ones who have guns, but looking for freedom.

I learned that they have a wall in their heads

Why should I worry about someone like that?”

“I am on the web! I am everywhere!

And nothing will stop me from finding what’s there.

Please don’t put a shade on my new world

My body doesn’t belong me at all”.


Who influences you graphically?

We wanted to show that the wall has artificial intelligence, and applying MS-DOS command line interface seemed to be the easiest way to do this. Using only the aesthetics of MS-DOS was not enough, so we were inspired by 8-bits games, because the style is quite similar. Our graphics was also influenced by noir comics whose atmosphere is in the same way depressive and gloomy. And of course the synthwave had an influence on choice of graphics. Generally the 80s are known for the scientific and technological progress and as the result the society was afraid of losing control of technology. The same way our project is about this loss.

What prompted you to format the proposal as a website?

Under the terms of the competition we had to submit a A0 board. But you can’t use this format in the Internet – it’s inconvenient. The website is more interactive and convenient form. All the information is stored in one place and you have an opportunity to represent the story linearly. Plus you just need a link to share the project. It’s done so that more people can find out about our project.

What references / case studies did you look to when developing the project? How and to what extent did these influences your approach?

We have been exploring the issue of state borders, making formal and cultural analysis of building those borders. At first, we tried to answer some questions. How borders between states can be built in civilised way? What is the purpose of borders? Is it necessary at all? Do we need physical boundaries or could it be like areas of «neutral waters»? When we found out that according to competition rules we should propose a physical boundary and design checkpoints, we were surprised and disappointed in some ways. So we kind of went into the abstract focusing on philosophical side of the problem.

What is your take on the architectural montage? What prompted you to use it as primary medium?

We like the opportunity to work with the images found in the internet. It is much like a ready-made art. Montage gives you an opportunity to get graphically strong images without spending load of time.

What was the effect and purpose of the interlocking quotes?

Due to the competition terms we had to attach an explanation note. But as our project already went beyond reality, we decided to write the note in the form of a poem. We wanted to tell the story, rather than describe the technical and architectural features of the project. So we gave the Wall an opportunity to «talk». For us it was very important to show her anthropomorphic quality, since she is an artificial intelligence.

What is your take on colour? How did the monochromatic palette ‘fit’ the project?

We like that the monochromatic version has a certain mood like before the storm, it has a drama. Color may interfere with the perception of an idea, because it takes an attention to itself. Also the theme of the competition made us feel sad, so our proposal reflected it – it became a sort of dystopia. In the final the Wall decided to leave its physical body. The Wall chose to deny a discussion about should she be or should not, which in her sense is just a noise in the mind. The Wall wants to create its own understanding of the world.


Project developed with the help of: Anna Brajnos, Natasha Lvova, Maria Zinukova.

CXEMA is a team of architects, designers and urbanists. Their approach takes its roots in architectural history. Through use of rhythm and proportions CXEMA creates outer and inner spaces that are simple, usable and poetic. Through their work they focus on the whole as much as on the details.

The word ‘CXEMA’ comes from the Greek word σχήμα (skhēma), which means shape, character, course of action. For us ΣΧΗΜΑ is and abstract structure that exists before and beyond shape. It is what we are looking for — a geometric structure and poetic formula that can become Architecture.