Exterior. Photo: Matthew Millman Photography

Bloom is a 9 foot tall freestanding tempietto with a footprint that measures approximately 12 feet by 12 feet and is composed of 840 customized 3D printed blocks. The experimental pavilion represents a new paradigm in building construction methods.

Bloom from above. Photo: Matthew Millman Photography

Bloom from above. Photo: Matthew Millman Photography

A pattern derived from traditional Thai flower patterns is mapped onto the surface of the structure that creates a figural pattern and stunning visual effect of light, shade and shadow on the exterior and interior. From the exterior the pattern is most striking from a distance or when viewed through the screen of a digital camera, which creates a surprise upon photographing the structure from up close.

Block production in printFARM.

Block production in the printFARM.

Each block is printed using a farm of 11 powder 3D printers with a special cement composite formulation comprised chiefly of iron oxide-free portland cement. Iron oxide imparts a gray color to cement, and its removal makes this print much lighter. Also, 3D printed cement requires no formwork and produces no waste and the support material can be reused to produce more blocks. Coupled with portland cement is an ecologically derived UV resistant polymer that reduces the greenhouse gas emissions from production of resins by 50% over conventional petroleum based epoxies that uses plant-based materials that do not compete with food sources or displace food-based agriculture. Each 3D printed block is enumerated to designate the blocks position in the overall structure. Rather than a set of blueprints, a spreadsheet that demonstrated the position of a block, was used in constructing Bloom, and each block is assembled and held in place using stainless steel hardware.


Interior. Photo: Matthew Millman Photography

Each block has a printed structural grid that defines the interior of the tempietto and requires no additional structural support, functioning as a load-bearing 3D printed enclosure. The curvilinear shape gives added stiffness to the thin, lightweight structure, informed by the thin masonry structures of Uruguayan architect and engineer, Eladio Dieste, particularly Iglesia Cristo Obrero, Jefferson’s serpentine brick walls at the University of Virginia, and Torqued Elipse, by Richard Serra, which inspires its form.

Bloom Plan.

Bloom Plan.

In plan Bloom is a curved cruciform shape that rises 9 feet to meet the same shape rotated 45 degrees, creating a torqued “x” shape with an entrance 45 degrees off of the structures axis. The undulated form and spaces recalls an elephants foot or, when coupled with the flower pattern on the surface, the traditional mud houses of the Tiebele people in Ghana — a reference to the earliest inspirations for 3D printing by emerging objects.


Bloom with the backdrop of Wurster Hall.

Project Date: 2015
Project Team: Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello, Kent Wilson, Alex Schofield, Sofia Anastassiou, Yina Dong, Dr. Stephan Adams, Alex Niemeyer, Ari Oppenhiemer, Reem Makkawi, Steven Huang.
Video Documentation/Editing: Sofia Anastassiou
Additional Project Information: Bloom was made possible by a partnership with the PrintFARM (Print Facility for Architecture, Research, and Materials) at the University of California Berkeley College of Environmental Design and the Siam Cement Group (SCG Thailand). Additional project support was made through generous sponsorship from 3D Systems and Entropy Resins.
Acknowledgments: Bloom would not be possible without the generous support from SCG and their team from Thailand including: Sanit Kessuwan, Managing Director of Innovation and Technology Office; Manasit Sarigaphuti, Research Director; Dr. Sakprayut Sinthupinyo, Cement and Cementitious Group Leader; Tipwimol Chintana, Researcher; Chatchawan Sethaburth, Chief Experience Maximizer, Sorathep Rattanayotsakun, Prinya Sainamthip, Clarence Tang Chong Shin. SCG Experience; Chua Kuptithanhi, Solution Maximizer; Issada Kawprasert, Professional knowledge Manager; Sunetra Chinkomolsuk, Brand Partnership Manager; Supitcha Sunyawoot, Brand Executive; Kornpong Nualsanit, Designer. Special thanks to the faculty and staff at the University of California Berkeley including: Jennifer Wolch, Dean, College of Environmental Design; Tom Buresh, Chair, Department of Architecture; Patricia Mead, Assistant Dean for Infrastructure and Information Technology; Semar Prom, Fabrication Shop Manager; Joyce Jennings, Management Services Officer; Eliahu Perszyk, CED Facilities Manager; David Spiegelman, Faculty Help Desk Manager; Mary Cocoma, Development & External Relations. Department of Art Practice: Ehren Tool, Ceramics Meachanition, Greg Niemeyer, Associate Professor, Art Practice, Stephanie Syjuco, Assistant Professor, Art Practice; Kate Lewis, Industry Liaison and Contracts Manager; Eric Giegerich, Director Industry Alliances Office and all the volunteer student models. Thanks to the group at 3D Systems including: Hugh Evans, Cathy Lewis, Scott Summit, Annie Shaw and Andrew Jeffrey; and at Entropy Resins: Desi Banato and Tom T. Additional thanks to Paul Endres, Endres Studio, Denise Klarquist and Matthew Millman, Matthew Millman Photography.
Media: Architectural Record, Architect Magazine, 3D Printing Industry.com, Inhabitat, CBS San Francisco, UC Berkeley News Center, 3DPrint.com, Civil Engineering, Engineering News Wire. More information at www.emergingobjects.com

Next Progressives

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Architect Magazine features Rael San Fratello as part of their Next Progressives Series.

3D Printed House 1.0


3D Printed House 1.0 (3D打印的房子 1.0) is a case study in 3D printing major components of a 3D printed house for the Jin Hai Lake Resort Beijing.


The exterior cladding of 3D Printed House 1.0 will be constructed 3D printed using a special 3D printed fiber reinforced cement polymer, developed by Emerging Objects. The variegated pattern allows for views and light to pass through in some areas of the wall, but not in others. The quality of light and shadow constantly changes across the surface with the passing of the day. Major structural components of the house will be comprised of cast in place concrete, plastered white.


The interior of the 3D printed facade wall reveals the bumpy surface’s underlying geometry—a series of interconnected pentagons, hexagons and quadrilateral shapes whose terminus is a circle.


Inside, the private spaces of the house—the bedrooms, bathrooms and family dining room are housed in translucent 3D printed double hieght and two story tall vessels constructed of 3D printable salt polymer.


The interior of the salt volumes capture light from skylights above, creating a series of glowing translucent rooms within the concrete box.


Outside, adjacent to the pool, is a free standing 3D printed pool cabana.



1. Game Room 2. Master Bedroom 3. Library/Office 4. Guest Room 5. Formal Dinning 6. Dining/Kitchen 7. Foyer 8. Pool 9. Pool House 10. Garden 11. Parking 12. Entrance

The house explores justopositions between traditional construction methods and 3D printed manufacturing. It also explores relationships between public and private within the organization of the program of the house.


Translucency, porosity and openness are all tested in the different material conditions and inform the optics, lighting, views and thresholds between adjacent spaces.


Prototypes of the 3D printed salt rooms were constructed at full scale to demonstrate the potential of 3D printed architecture.



Project Date: 2013
Project Location: Beijing, China
Client: Jinhai Lake Development
Design Team: Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello, Eleftheria Stavridi, Seong Koo Lee.
Additional Project Information: More information at Emerging Objects



A voxel (volumetric pixel or Volumetric Picture Element) is a volume element, representing a value on a regular grid in three-dimensional space. To a certain extent, the brick is architecture’s first voxel. However the inherent absence of gravity in the digital environment (and the existence of it in our own) has made the brick and the voxel rarely cross conceptual paths.


In collaboration with students at Tulane University School of Architecture, full scale experiments in Boxelization were explored during a 3 day A-Week workshop.


This project collapsed the building unit, in the form of 1,000 – 12”x12”x12” corrugated boxes and the voxel, to produce a full-scale study model — a Boxel! The installation was installed on the Tulane Quad.

BOXEL from Rael San Fratello on Vimeo.


Project Date: 2014
Design Team: Ronald Rael and Tulane Architecture Students: Jack Waterman, Adam Sheilds, Haley Lindsley, Calla Bardwell, Blair Begbie, Carly Bowman, Shuang Ding, Chris Dunn, Calvin Gallion, III, Laura Gil, Lindsay Girardeau, Paul Holmes, Stuart Hurt, Shira Latch, David Maples, Wyler Murray, Sarah Narrow, Rachel Neu, Olivia Pontiff, Annika Schneider, Katherine Schuff, James Scott, Sanaa Shaikh, Paul Zamorano
Additional Project Information: Boxel was constructed as part of Tulane School of Architecture A-Weekend

Metropolis Magazine

The work of Rael San Fratello/Emerging Objects on the cover (and in an article) of this month’s Metropolis Magazine.


Transections Symposium at the Syracuse University

Virginia San Fratello to speak at the Transections Symposium at the Syracuse University School of Architecture on April 1, 2014.

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Rael San Fratello named Emerging Voice


Each year the Architectural League of New York selects eight emerging practitioners through a juried, invited portfolio competition. The Emerging Voices award spotlights individuals and firms based in the United States, Canada, or Mexico with distinct design voices and the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape design, and urbanism. Being named an Emerging Voice by The Architectural League is one of the most coveted awards in North American architecture, and the program is notable for its thirty-year history of identifying and nurturing firms that go on to have influential practices. Rael San Fratello is honored to have been named an Emerging Voice in 2014.

The Architectural League’s annual Emerging Voices Award spotlights North American individuals and firms with distinct design “voices” that have the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design. The jury reviews significant bodies of realized work and considers accomplishments within the design and academic communities. The work of each Emerging Voice represents the best of its kind, and addresses larger issues within architecture, landscape, and the built environment. This year’s jury included Fred Bernstein, Paul Lewis, Kate Orff, Thomas Phifer, Annabelle Selldorf, and Adam Yarinsky. Emerging Voices is organized by League Program Director Anne Rieselbach.

The 2014 Emerging Voices are:

David Benjamin, The Living, New York
Geoff di GirolamoJames Lord, and Roderick Wyllie, Surfacedesign, Inc., San Francisco
Basar GiritAleksey Lukyanov-ChernyWes Rozen, and Bradley Samuels, SITU Studio, Brooklyn
Joyce Hwang, Ants of the Prairie, Buffalo
Salvador Macías Corona and Magui Peredo Arenas, Estudio Macías Peredo, Guadalajara
Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, Rael San Fratello, Oakland
Mauricio Rocha Iturbide and Gabriela Carrillo Valadez, TALLER |MauricioRocha+GabrielaCarrillo|, Mexico City
Betsy WilliamsonShane Williamson, and Donald Chong, Williamson Chong Architects, Toronto

For more information about the 2014 winners, click here.

Rael San Fratello will discuss their work on Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Scholastic Auditorium, 557 Broadway, New York, NY. Tickets are free for League members; $10 for non-members. Members may reserve a ticket by e-mailing: rsvp@archleague.org. Member tickets will be held at the check-in desk; unclaimed tickets will be released fifteen minutes after the start of the program. Non-members may purchase tickets online here, beginning March 6.




NOWHERE is a project whose aim is to recognize that in a century where greater than 50% of the population of the planet is migrating to cities, a rural community can also be a SOMEWHERE of rich cultural, geographic, historic and aesthetic importance. To accomplish this , Rael San Fratello purchased an abandoned store front in Antonito, CO,a town of 772 people—formerly the town pharmacy—and for six months, transformed the space into an open plan that could be used in a variety of ways by and for the local community.


Partnering with an art faculty member from a nearby  college, faculty and students began an after-school arts program in the town to supplement the missing art program from the curriculum due to budget cuts. Three art education students worked together to create a three day lesson plan for the high school students. They used the Surrealist movement and contemporary collage artists as inspiration for their lesson.

The lesson  had the high school students reflect on who they were as individuals, what was important to them, and what cultural aspects of their life they want to celebrate. The students created large self-portrait collage pieces using abstract photographs that the students took of themselves, paintings that they created, and additional collage materials. The life-size artwork was presented in a community opening at NOWHERE.


NOWHERE continued to promote the arts, craft, design and architecture by combining the work of an invited group of internationally recognized artists with local artists from this region where these allied fields are underrepresented. Among the participating artists were Ehren ToolStephanie SyjucoFuture FarmersMichael C. RaelRichard Saxton (M12 Collective), Fred HaberleinMichael Elmgreen, Ingar DragsetAngela Maestas and Chloe Rossetti.


W.A. Ehren Tool: Cups, 2013. Ceramic

W. A. Ehren Tool is a ceramist whose work seeks to raise awareness about war. A third-generation soldier who served as a Marine in Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1991, Tool began studying drawing when he left the Corps in 1994. His work centers on the production of clay cups, which are decorated with press molds of military medals or bombs and images of war and violence. He often assembles them, broken or intact, into installations or uses them in videos, and then gives them away (thousands to date) as a way to provoke conversations about war.



Fred “Thunder Heart” Haberlein: Mural of Historic Antonito, 1988. Oil on plaster.

Fred “Thunder Heart” Haberlein grew up on a desolate ranch outside Antonito, Colorado. Starting in 1978, he began a series of murals in towns across the country—many of which can be found in Antonito. Today there are nearly 125 murals by Haberlein, more than any other U.S. artist has created single-handedly. He is an adjunct faculty member at the Colorado Mountain College in Glennwood Springs. His mural of historic downtown Antonito, painted in the mid 1980′s is a permanent installation at NOWHERE.

Powerless Structures, Fig. 19, 1998, Two pairs of Calvin Klein underwear inside two pairs of faded blue jeans.

Elmgreen & Dragset: Powerless Structures, Fig. 19, 1998, Two pairs of Calvin Klein underwear inside two pairs of faded blue jeans.

Michael Elmgreen (born 1961 in Copenhagen, Denmark) and Ingar Dragset (born 1969 in Trondheim, Norway), based in Berlin and London, have worked together as an artist duo since 1995. They have held numerous solo exhibitions in art institutions worldwide, including the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam (2011), ZKM Museum of Modern Art in Karlsruhe (2010), MUSAC in Léon (2009), The Power Plant in Toronto (2006), Serpentine Gallery (2006) and Tate Modern (2004) in London, and Kunsthalle Zürich (2001). Their work has been included in the Liverpool (2012), Singapore (2011), Moscow (2011, 2007), Gwangju (2002), São Paulo (2002), Istanbul (2001), and Berlin (1998) biennials, and in 2009 they received a special mention for their exhibition “The Collectors” in the Nordic and Danish Pavilions at the 53rd Venice Biennale. Amongst their most well known works are “Prada Marfa” (2005) – a full scale replica of a Prada boutique in the middle of the Texan desert, and “Short Cut” (2003) – a car and a caravan breaking through the ground which was first shown in Milan and now resides in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Their piece, Powerless Structures, Fig. 19 (1998), comprised of two pairs of Calvin Klein underwear inside two pairs of faded blue jeans was exhibited at NOWHERE.

Future Farmers: Pedestrian Press, 2007. Sliced fallen trees, rubber, green strapping

Future Farmers: Pedestrian Press, 2007. Sliced fallen trees, rubber, green strapping

Futurefarmers is a group of diverse practitioners aligned through an open practice of making work that is relevant to the time and place surrounding us. Founded in 1995, our design studio serves as a platform to support art projects, an artist in residence program and our research interests. They are artists, researchers, designers, architects, scientists and farmers with a common interest in creating frameworks for exchange that catalyze moments of “not knowing”. 

While they collaborate with scientists and are interested in scientific inquiry, we want to ask questions more openly. Science asks questions to find “answers” and seeks to find a methodology to answer the next question, while we ask questions to seek more questions. Through participatory projects, we create spaces and experiences where the logic of a situation disappears – encounters occur that broaden, rather than narrow perspectives, i.e. reductionist science.

Their work employs various media to create work that has the potential to destabilize logics of “certainty”. We deconstruct systems such as food policies, public transportation and rural farming networks to visualize and understand their intrinsic logics. Often through this disassembly they find new narratives and potential reconfigurations that propose alternatives to the principles that once dominated these systems. Their work provides a playful entry point and tools for participants to gain insight into deeper fields of inquiry- not only to imagine, but to participate in and initiate change in the places they live.

Michael C. Rael: From the series, East of Antonito, 2012-2013. Print

Michael C. Rael: From the series, East of Antonito, 2012-2013. Print

Michael C. Rael is a photographer living in the high alpine desert of Colorado’s San Luis Valley. His work documenting the landscapes of this region, and his book Sentinel in Sight, which presents seasonal images of Cerro San Antonio—the largest freestanding mountain in the continental United States—are presented in NOWHERE.

Stephanie Syjuco: Greetings From Nowhere, 2013. Paper, steel, paint

Stephanie Syjuco: Greetings From Nowhere, 2013. Paper, steel, paint

Stephanie Syjuco creates large-scale spectacles of collected cultural objects, cumulative archives, and temporary vending installations, often with an active public component that invites viewers to directly participate as producers or distributors. Working primarily in sculpture and installation, her projects leverage open-source systems, shareware logic, and flows of capital, creating frictions between high ideals and everyday materials. This has included starting a global collaborative project with crochet crafters to counterfeit high-end consumer goods; presenting a parasitic art counterfeiting event, “COPYSTAND: An Autonomous Manufacturing Zone” for Frieze Projects, London (2009); and “Shadowshop,” an alternative vending outlet embedded at SFMOMA exploring the ways in which artists are navigating the production, consumption, and dissemination of their work (2010-11).

Born in the Philippines, she received her MFA from Stanford University and BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, and included in exhibitions at MoMA/P.S.1, the Whitney Museum of American Art, SFMOMA, ZKM Center for Art and Technology, Germany; Z33 Space for Contemporary Art, Belgium; UniversalStudios Gallery Beijing; The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; and the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, among others. In 2007 she led counterfeiting workshops in Istanbul and in 2009 contributed proxy sculptures for MOMA/P.S.1′s joint exhibition, “1969.” She has taught at Stanford University, The California College of the Arts, UC Berkeley, The San Francisco Art Institute, and Carnegie Mellon University. A recipient of a 2009 Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award, she lives and works in San Francisco.

Angela Maestas: Jawbone Pistols, 2013. Acrylic on sheep jaw bone

Angela Maestas: Jawbone Pistols, 2013. Acrylic on sheep jaw bone

Angela Maestas is a multi-media artist from the San Luis Valley, Colorado. Her work draws upon images and materials from her Spanish-American culture and the rural landscapes of Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

“To Search” was a durational performance conducted by Chloe Rosetti on Saturday, August 3rd, 2013, at NOWHERE. Immediately prior to the performance, she collected rocks from the earth around  NOWHERE, and, over the course of two hours and 13 minutes, proceeded to arrange the rocks to spell the phrase, “TO SEARCH IN THE ENIGMA OF HOURS FOR THAT TRULY HIDDEN SEED,” excerpted from a tablet in Franck André Jamme’s *New Exercises ’08*: “TO SEARCH IN THE ENIGMA OF HOURS FOR THE TRULY HIDDEN SEED THAT NO SOONER PULVERIZED BECOMES THE BREAD OF THOSE WHO EAT NOT TO PERISH.” After each word was composed it was immediately erased, the rocks returning to the pile. Behind the action was an hour-long projection of found images that I had composed, featuring a range of imagery—meat in an abattoir, gloved hands gluing a vase back together, a black and white performance of two hands relating, a diagram of the entrance and exit wound of a bullet, diagrams of the eye, ear and tear duct, the braces-filled mouth of a smiling teen, dressed-up people dancing, and so on. Playing on loop during the performance was a specially composed soundscape by Taja Cheek, featuring crickets, crackling fire, looped piano, waves, wordless vocals, bird calls, guitar riffs and rain. The sounds swell up and fade out over one another, until all becomes quiet. During the performance the loop occurred just over 13 times. After the performance was over, the rocks were returned to the Antonito earth.

To Search is a meditation on transience and effort, and on the conscience experience of emerging from and being called back into the Source. As each word is fully formed and erased, it becomes difficult to recall the sentence as a whole; one considers whether this matters, whether actions should be taken in sequence, as a kind of story, or as indelible moments in an utterly transient landscape. Poignantly, NOWHERE’s storefront location where she conducted the performance closed a few weeks later.


Main Street

Main Street

The property improvements to the former pharmacy allowed an entrepreneur to take ownership of the site of NOWHERE and re-introduce a much needed pharmacy to the local community.

Project Date: 2013
Design Team: Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello
Staff: Laurelin Kruse, Director of Operations
Participating artists: Ehren Tool, Stephanie Syjuco, Future Farmers (Michael Swaine and Amy Franceschini), Michael C. Rael, Richard Saxton (M12 Collective), Fred Haberlein, Michael Elmgreen, Ingar Dragset, Angela Maestas and Chloe Rossetti.

Special thanks: Jennifer Gawronski, Charles Ewing Gallery, Golden West Sign Arts, South Conejos School District RE-10

Ronald Rael to give Inaugural Design Build Lecture at Virginia Tech


Ronald Rael will deliver the inaugural Design/Build Lecture at Virginia Tech on Thursday, November 14 at 2:00pm in the Hancock Auditorium at the Virginia Tech College of Architecture and Urban Studies. The lecture is sponsored by the design/buildLAB.

Exhibit: New West Coast Design 2


Photo: Matthew Millman

Today, the icons of Modernism are visible everywhere. Eliel Saarinen’s Tulip Chair, the Diamond by Harry Bertoia, Marcel Breuer’s Wassily Chair and Isamo Noguchi’s coffee table are eternally with us as are the designs of Saarinen’s fellow Cranbrook students Charles and Ray Eames. Where are the incubators for the designers of our decade? Which of their works will become icons treasured by the next generation?


Photo: Matthew Millman

Organized by the Museum of Craft and Design with guest curators Kathleen Hanna and Ted Cohen, New West Coast Design 2 (NWCD2) was inspired by the initial 2008 exhibition New West Coast Design which highlighted experimental works in traditional and new materials by artists working in California, Oregon and Washington, including work by Rael San Fratello/Emerging Objects, including the Saltygloo, Drum and the design for the Berkeley-Rupp Prize for Architecture. The show runs October 26, 2013 through January 5, 2014 with a public lecture by Virginia San Fratello and Ronald Rael on Tuesday, October 29 from 7 PM – 8:30.

Exhibition Curators: Kathleen Hanna and Ted Cohen
Exhibition design: Ted Cohen
Additional information: New West Coast Design 2 Exhibit At the Museum of Craft and Design Makes the Everyday Unique