Professor Ronald Rael Appointed as Chair, Department of Art Practice

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August 18, 2022

The Division of the Arts & Humanities announces that Ronald Rael will be chair of the department of Art Practice, as of July 1, 2022. Rael holds a split appointment as Professor in the College of Environmental Design and in the department of Art Practice. He will serve a three-year term following outgoing chair and professor Al-an deSouza.

Rael’s research interests connect indigenous and traditional material practices to contemporary technologies and issues, and he is a design activist, author, and thought leader within the topics of additive manufacturing, border wall studies, and earthen architecture. He brings a long history of active learning models,  installation art and architecture, and sustainability to the department. 

The London Design Museum awarded his creative practice, Rael San Fratello, (with architect Virginia San Fratello), the Beazley Award in 2021 for the design of the year, one of the most prestigious awards in design internationally. In 2014 his practice was named an Emerging Voice by The Architectural League of New York—one of the most coveted awards in North American architecture. In 2016 Rael San Fratello was also awarded the Digital Practice Award of Excellence by the The Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA).

He is the author of Borderwall as Architecture: A Manifesto for the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (University of California Press 2017), an illustrated biography and protest of the wall dividing the U.S. from Mexico (featured in a TED talk by Rael), and Earth Architecture (Princeton Architectural Press, 2008), a history of building with earth in the modern era.

Rael’s work has been published widely, including the New York Times, Wired, MARK, Domus, Metropolis Magazine, PRAXIS, Thresholds, Log, Public Art Review. His work has been included in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the FRAC Centre, and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya.