Rael San Fratello

An interesting duo of ‘architects’ who caught my attention with their interesting examination of what can/should constitute 3D printing materials, and how they can be used to improve the engineered environment.

How they describe themselves on their website:

We print buildings. We love dust. We believe that when there is architecture there should also be food. We believe salt has a place in architecture. We are obsessed by materials. We try to proceed and be bold.


Some of their work – text and images extracted from their pages. Follow the links to see the original content:

Involute Wall

The involute wall is a prototype for thermal mass and acoustic dampening in a massive 3D printed sand structure. The involuted surfaces reduce resonance in the room, by absorption and redirection of sound waves. The massive 600lb 3D sand print presents the opportunity for surfaces to serve as thermal mass while keeping much of the wall in shade—ideal for hot climates with extreme temperature shifts.

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A burl is a tree growth in which the grain has grown in a deformed manner. It is commonly found in the form of a rounded outgrowth on a tree trunk or branch that is filled with small knots from dormant buds. A burl results from a tree undergoing some form of stress. It may be caused by an injury, virus or fungus.

In this case, the burl is a product of the 3D printing of wood, exploring the forms and thickness that is possible with this as an emerging material in additive manufacturing. Like a burl found in nature, this burl contains cracks, deformations and dense layers of growth rings—a product of the layers of manufacturing.

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Quotation from  KQED Arts:

One of the projects Rael and San Fratello are dreaming up is a 3D printed, solar powered, mobile unit using clay. “All over the world there are materials that can be found locally that can make buildings,” San Fratello says. “If we can take this technology to a particular place, the people building in that area could work in collaboration with the machine to design for local contexts using local materials,” Rael says.


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