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established 2002, American

San Fratello and Rael are an Oakland-based design studio grounded in the discipline of architecture as the basis for creative production. Virginia San Fratello and Ronald Rael established their practice in 2002 following the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 to imagine alternative outcomes for architectural practice in a post 9/11 world. A primary focus of their work folds together indigenous and traditional craft and material practice, contemporary design technologies, and storytelling, as strategies to unravel the complexities of contemporary society. Both Rael and San Fratello come from extremely rural backgrounds. Rael was raised in a remote alpine valley on the border of southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico on a multi-generational ranch, and San Fratello in the forests and tobacco farms of the deep South. Humor, play, and hybridity are important aspects of the work, often layered with serious topics that span the themes of immigration, start-up companies, waste, homelessness, fashion, graphic design, and 3D printing. Their practice is closely tied to their commitment to public education in their roles as professors at the University of California Berkeley and San Jose State University.

Selected Exhibitions
  • 2021 Borderwall As Architecture, SFMOMA, San Francisco, CA, Dates TBD
  • 2021 The Wall/El Muro: What Is a Border Wall? (Delayed due to COVID 19) The National Building Museum, Washington DC, Dates TBD
  • 2021 Borderwall Teeter Totters (delayed due to COVID 19), MAAT Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon, Portugal, Dates TBD
  • 2021 Designing Peace (delayed due to COVID 19), The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, NY, Dates TBD
  • 2021 Beazley Design Awards, The Design Museum, London, United Kingdom, Opens October 21, 2020
Black and white portrait of artists Virginia San Fratello and Ron Rail

Works by Artist

  • Available
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