Ronald Rael’s talk will reexamine what the 650 miles of physical barrier dividing the US and Mexico is and could be, suggesting that the wall is an opportunity for economic and social development along the border that encourages its conceptual and physical dismantling. Rael will illuminate the transformative effects of the wall on people, animals, and the natural and built landscape through the story of people on both sides of the border who transform and creatively challenge the wall’s existence. He will also discuss his architectural studio’s counterproposals that reimagine, hyperbolize, or question the wall and its construction, cost, performance, and meaning. Rael proposes that despite the intended use of the wall, which is to keep people out and away, the wall is instead an attractor, engaging both sides in a common dialogue.
Ronald Rael is the Eva Li Memorial Chair in Architecture and Associate Professor in Architecture, the College of Environmental Design, and the Department of Art Practice at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a partner in the award-winning architectural firm Rael San Fratello and CEO of Emerging Objects, a 3D Printing MAKE-tank.