Play | RAEL SAN FRATELLO

P•lay: activity done for recreation or amusement, as by children.


It often happens that children’s stories and games admit multiple readings.

With their best-known work “Teeter Trotter wall”, the architectural studio Rael & San Fratello [California 2002] help us understand on one hand the universality of the seesaw as a game that can bring children together and on the other hand the impact of any political decision, both sides of the wall, when talking about borders. In this case the installation happended in the wall that divides Mexico from the EEUU.

As an architect I have always admired the most social and political side of the architecture of the 60s, that side that was forgotten in the years of real estate boom and the crisis has brought back, hopefully to stay. In contemporary times there are quite a few practices that come back to this philosophy – remember that Forensic Architecture were shortlisted for the Turner prize in 2018 – and there are more and more institutions and museums that include architects in their exhibitions.

Returning to Ronald Rael & Virginia San Fratello, they define themselves as “a workshop of creative people interested in the world”.  For me, Architecture is multidisciplinary by nature and curious by necessity. The work of an architect it should not finish at a particular site but must be on the streets and create citizenship.


A menudo pasa que los cuentos y juegos infantiles admiten múltiples lecturas.

En su obra  más conocida ” Teeter Trotter wall” el estudio de arquitectura Rael & San Fratello [California 2002] nos hacen ver, por una parte, la universalidad del balancín como elemento de acercamiento y juego de niños y por otra, la necesaria repercusión de cualquier decisión política cuando hablamos de frontera, a uno y otro lado de la franja que divide México de EEUU.

Como arquitecta siempre he admirado la vertiente más social y política de la arquitectura de los 60, esa cara amable que se olvidó en los años de boom inmobiliario y la crisis ha traído de vuelta, ojalá que para quedarse. En contemporaneidad hay bastantes prácticas que se vuelven a acercar a esta filosofía  – recordar que Forensic Architecture fueron preseleccionados para el premio Turner en 2018 – y son más y más las instituciones y museos que cuentan con arquitectos para sus exposiciones.

Volviendo a Ronald Rael & Virginia San Fratello, ellos mismos se definen como “un taller de personas creativas interesadas en el mundo”. Y es que la arquitectura es multidisciplinar por naturaleza y curiosa por necesidad. El trabajo de un arquitecto no es puede acabar en la obra sino que debe continuar en la calle y crear ciudadanía.


01.-Aerial-view-of-Teeter-Trotter-Photo-by-©-Rael-San-Fratello-studio-1024x575

aerial view  “Teeter Trotter wall” 2019

image6

Sukkah of the Signs, 2010

The Straw Gallery 2011

The Straw Gallery, 2011


Rael San Fratello architecture studio: http://www.rael-sanfratello.com

Emerging Objects project: http://www.emergingobjects.com/

Emerging voices 2014: https://youtu.be/CFdwyhJ0jyo

Also talked about Forensic Architecture: https://forensic-architecture.org/

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