Ronald Rael is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley with a joint appointment in the department Art Practice. Rael’s research seeks creative strategies for activism to permeate architectural design culture. Drawing from movements in the 1960s, such as the Chicano and land art movements, particularly the protest by land artists against a contextuality, plastic aesthetics and the commercialization of art, and the Chicano use of the concept rasquachismo, which the artist, writer and Mac Arthur fellow Amalia Mesa-Bains defines as a tactic where “… the irreverent and spontaneous are employed to make the most from the least…[where] one has a stance that is both defiant and inventive. Aesthetic expression comes from discards, fragments, even recycled everyday materials…” Without making direct formal or ethno-cultural references to this work, his research and creative work transforms the practice of architecture into a cultural endeavor—one that is defiant, inventive and tied to contemporary issues and design vocabularies. The work relies upon a deep understanding place, and its inherent resources, and makes careful links between a broad spectrum of tools that come from manual, industrial and digital approaches to making architecture.
Virginia San Fratello is an Assistant Professor at San José State University in the School of Art & Design. San Fratello’s research revolves around the convergence of digital, ecological, and building component design in architecture. She was the recipient of Metropolis Magazine’s Next Generation Design Award for her Hydro Wall concept and with Ronald Rael currently has a collection of recently designed masonry units which hold vegetation on display in New York. She is working with manufacturer / distributors to launch these innovative and sustainable architectural building components into the market place.
More information about Rael San Fratello's work can be found on their website.