Of a Leaf or a Feather - CODAworx

Of a Leaf or a Feather

Submitted by Norie Sato

Client: GSA

Location: San Ysidro, CA, United States

Completion date: 2015

Artwork budget: $350,000

Project Team


Norie Sato

Industry Resource

Kevin Maag

Metal Arts


Nicole Avila

General Services Administration


Craig Curtis

Miller Hull Architects


The artwork for the Southbound Pedestrian Pathway at the busiest border crossing in the world takes advantage of its location vis à vis the sun and provides pedestrian interest and comfort on the walk towards Mexico. Its conceptual roots in nature as well as American symbols, allude to agave leaves or eagle feathers, but is open-ended in interpretation.


To humanize the southbound pedestrian path between the US and Mexico at the world's busiest border crossing. The crossing was mostly a concrete and metal fence walkway with no amenities. The artwork added an organic counterpoint as well as providing some shade to the pathway as well as visual interest where little existed.


The pathway was complete before the artwork was conceived and built, but the work was developed out of conversations with users, the Border patrol officers, the agency and architects and structural engineers. Logistics of safety, border security, vandalism and access were critical in how the artwork was finally designed and installed.