Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small

Ronald Rael holds the Eva Li Memorial Chair in Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. His first book, Earth Architecture (Princeton Architectural Press, 2008), is a history of building with earth in the modern era to exemplify contemporary uses of the oldest building material on the planet. In 2014 his creative practice, Rael San Fratello (with architect Virginia San Fratello), was named an Emerging Voice by the Architectural League of New York, one of the most coveted awards in North American architecture. He grew up in the high alpine desert of Colorado’s remote San Luis Valley, the former frontier between the United States and Mexico before 1848, where his ancestors, the descendants of that third nation still thrive. He lives in Oakland, California, with his wife and son.