FF – Distance Edition: Rael San Fratello

The Oakland-based studio hosts a virtual project visit and conversation.

November 5, 2020
7:00 p.m.

Rael San Fratello | Cabin of 3D Printed Curiosities Exterior, Oakland, California, 2018. Credit: Matthew Millman Photography

The League’s monthly First Friday events are informal social gatherings that allow members to visit the offices of leading design practices and see work on the boards.

This fall and winter, the League’s monthly First Friday series is shifting to a new online format, as well as a new day of the week: Thursday. Expanding our reach beyond New York City, each event explores design practices that operate in multiple roles—coupling architecture with initiatives including design advocacy, fabrication research, and community engagement.

Each program, conducted onsite at an office or recent project, consists of brief presentations about the practice and its work, relationship to the local context, and impetus for creating alternative modes of practice. An informal conversation with attendees follows.

On Thursday, November 5, the event will be hosted by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, the “alchemists” and architects behind Oakland-based studio Rael San Fratello and the 3-D printing make-tank Emerging Objects. In addition to “rethinking the way sensuous and sustainable objects and buildings can be made from the ground up,” their work also speculates about the social agency of design, particularly along the US–Mexico borderlands. The partners will speak directly from Antonito, Colorado, where they will show one of their most recent projects, MUD Frontiers / Casa Covida.

Ronald Rael’s publications include Borderwall as Architecture: A Manifesto for the U.S.–Mexico Boundary (2017) and Earth Architecture (2008).

Recent and current projects include:

  • Pink Borderwall Teeter Totters, a 2019 installation on the border wall that separates Sunland Park (US) and Ciudad Juarez (Mexico), showing that play can be an act of resistance.
  • Cabin of 3D Printed Curiosities, a fully 3D printed project that combines a living wall of succulents using planter tiles, ceramic tiles emulating a knitting technique, translucent bio-plastic interior panels, and objects printed using coffee grounds and grape skins.
  • MUD Frontiers / Casa Covida, an ongoing project exploring robotic additive manufacturing through an accessible and ecological approach by using local soil to construct a “house of cohabitation.”