For Immediate Release
2 December 2016
Berkeley, CA. Associate Professor of Architecture Ronald Rael will publish a new book, Borderwall as Architecture: A Manifesto for the US-Mexico Boundary, in April 2017 by University of California Press.
Part biographical account of the physical barrier dividing the United States of America from the United Mexican States, Borderwall as Architecture is also a protest against the wall and a projection about its future through a series of propositions. Rael encourages the conceptual and physical dismantling of the border suggesting that the nearly 700 miles of wall is an opportunity for economic and social development.
The book makes this case by taking readers on a journey along a wall that cuts through a “third nation” dubbed the “Divided States of America.” Along the journey, the transformative effects of the wall on the people, animals and natural and built landscape are exposed and called into question through stories of people on both sides of the border who transform and challenge the wall’s existence in creative ways.
Coupled with these real-life accounts are unsolicited counter-proposals for the wall created by Rael’s studio, Rael San Fratello, that reimagine, hyperbolize or question the wall and its construction, cost, performance and meaning. These design proposals emerge from the idea that despite the intended use of the wall—to keep people out and away—the wall is instead an attractor, engaging both sides in a common dialogue. Included in the book is a collection of reflections on the wall and its consequences by leading experts like Professor Emeritus of City & Regional Planning Michael Dear, SDSU Professor of Chicano/a Studies Norma Iglesias-Prieto, author Marcello Di Cintio and UC San Diego Professor of Public Culture and Urbanism Teddy Cruz.
Borderwall as Architecture is Professor Rael’s second book; he is also author of Earth Architecture (Princeton Architectural Press), a history of building with earth in the modern era that exemplifies new, creative uses of the oldest building material on the planet.