The principle function of the Otay Mesa Land Port of Entry is to facilitate the movement of people and goods between the United States of America and the Republic of Mexico. The Otay Mesa Land Port of Entry Modernization presents a Grand Façade that signifies a visual threshold for entry into the United States. Serving as a linkage between both nations, the Otay Mesa LPOE must provide two public faces: one for international activity between the US and Mexico and one for domestic port visitors. This has generated the need for a Pedestrian Buildings which serve all international non-commercial interactions and a Commercial Annex building which will serve all commercial interactions.

During the early phases of design, several topics for exploration and innovation were isolated. Working with the Border Control the design team proposed 5 lighting improvements on the Port standards which improve lighting quality while saving approximately $60,000 per year. The regions dry temperate climate requires water conservation. These savings were met with the use of regionally appropriate planting and landscaping and 100% of the irrigation water on site reclaimed by the implementation of a wastewater recovery Living Machine. The staff occupying the border station enjoy several environmental innovations. At the truck inspection booths a remote fresh air intake provide a positive pressure clean air zone. Radiant heating and cooling is achieved through overhead chilled beams and under floor radiant heating throughout the buildings. While effectively reducing on-site energy demands and providing a safer work environment, these environmental innovations allowed the design team to register the building LEED Gold.