Rafael Viñoly

Rafael Viñoly Beceiro (born 1944) is an Uruguayan architect.

§Life and career

Rafael Viñoly

Viñoly was born in Montevideo, Uruguay to Román Viñoly Barreto (a film and theater director) and Maria Beceiro (a mathematics teacher). He grew up and was educated in Argentina. He attended the University of Buenos Aires, receiving a Diploma in Architecture in 1968 and a Master of Architecture from the School of Architecture and Urbanism in 1969.

In 1964, he formed the "Manteola-Petchersky-Sanchez Gomez-Santos-Solsona-Viñoly" Estudio de Arquitectura (architectural firm) with six associates. This practice would eventually become one of the largest architectural practices in South America, completing many significant commissions in a very short time.

In 1978 Viñoly and his family relocated to the United States. For a brief period he served as a guest lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, settling permanently in New York City in 1979. He founded the firm Rafael Viñoly Architects PC in 1983. His first major project in New York was the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, which was completed in 1988. In 1989, he won an international competition to design the Tokyo International Forum. Completed in 1996, many people consider this building to be the most important cultural complex in Japan. His firm's design was one of the finalists in the World Trade Center design competition (see THINK Team).

During the course of his forty-plus year career, Viñoly has practiced in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. His firm has realized unprecedented growth over the past few years, expanding to include affiliate offices in London and Abu Dhabi. The firm has competed numerous and diverse projects including award-winning museums, performing arts centers, convention centers, athletic facilities, banks, courthouses, hotels, hospitals, laboratories, recreational venues, residential complexes, and commercial, industrial and educational facilities. With projects ranging in scale from laboratory casework to large urban commercial and institutional master plans, along with experience in the restoration and expansion of buildings of significant historical and architectural value.

Viñoly is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, an International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and a member of the Japan Institute of Architects as well as the Sociedad Central de Arquitectos.

§Honors and awards

Rafael Viñoly
  • Design Honor, Salvadori Center, 2007
  • International Fellow, The Royal Institute of British Architects, 2006
  • National Design Award Finalist, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, 2004
  • Neutra Medal for Professional Excellence: In recognition for his contributions to the Environmental Design Profession and in honor of Modernist architect Richard Neutra, 2000.
  • Honorary Doctorate, University of Maryland, 1997
  • Medal of Honor, American Institute of Architects, New York City Chapter, 1995
  • National Academician, The National Academy, 1994
  • Fellow, American Institute of Architects, 1993

§Design philosophy

“Architecture is a dialogue with the forces of life. As a major form of social intervention, its essential responsibility is to elevate the public realm." In every project, I seek to maximize the opportunity for civic investment with a goal of forming iconic works that fulfill the needs of the client. For me, this makes architecture the most unique form of artistic endeavor.

My design philosophy is rooted in the development of architectural ideas that are powerful, distinctive, and relevant to the specifics of both program and context. This assures that each project receives a unique interpretation rather than a premeditated solution based on a specific architectural vocabulary. I also focus on the integration of structural systems that complement the design idea, ensuring the synthesis of engineering with architectural form.

My longstanding commitment to design excellence, practiced over 45 years, is particularly evident in the success of our firm’s many civic initiatives, which demonstrate our ability to creatively integrate buildings into contextual urban sites and to work within larger master plans. However, our global work spans nearly every architectural typology, each one delivered with equal passion and commitment to purpose.”



  • Lehman College Physical Education Facility, Bronx, New York, 1994
  • Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Japan, 1996
  • Bronx Housing Court, Bronx, New York, 1997
  • Princeton University Stadium, Princeton, New Jersey, 1998
  • Jongno Tower in Seoul, South Korea, 1999
  • Columbia University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York, 2000
  • The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2001
  • Van Andel Institute, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2002
  • Brown University, Watson Institute for International Studies, Providence, Rhode Island, 2002
  • Pennsylvania State University, Information Sciences and Technology Building, State College, Pennsylvania, 2003
  • David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2003
  • Princeton University, Carl Icahn Laboratory, Lewis Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Princeton, New Jersey, 2004
  • University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Chicago, Illinois, 2004
  • Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston, Massachusetts, 2004
  • National Institutes of Health, John Edward Porter Neurosciences Research Center, Bethesda, Maryland, 2004
  • Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York, New York, 2004
  • Duke University, Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, North Carolina, 2005
  • Mahler 4 Office Tower, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2005
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Farm Research Campus, Ashburn, Virginia, 2006
  • Wageningen University and Research Centre, Atlas Building, Wageningen, Netherlands, 2006
  • Bard College, The Gabrielle H. Reem and Herbert J. Kayden Center for Science and Computation, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, 2007
  • Bronx County Hall of Justice, Bronx, New York, 2007
  • University of California Los Angeles, California NanoSystems Institute, Los Angeles, California, 2007
  • Curve (theatre), Leicester [1], Leicester, England, 2008
  • Fortabat Museum, Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires, 2008
  • Brooklyn Children's Museum, Brooklyn, N.Y., 2008 (expansion)
  • New Terminal at Carrasco International Airport, Montevideo, Uruguay, 2009
  • West Quad Building, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, N.Y.,2009
  • City College of New York Spitzer School of Architecture, Urban Design, and Landscape Architecture, New York, 2009
  • Vdara Hotel & Spa at CityCenter, Paradise, Nevada, 2009
  • University of California San Francisco Institute for Regeneration Medicine Building, San Francisco, California, 2010
  • Firstsite:newsite Colchester Visual Arts Facility, Colchester, England, 25 September 2011
  • Edificio Acqua, Punta del Este, Uruguay, 2008 [2]
  • Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, 2008
  • Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2008
  • University of Oxford Master Plan and Mathematics Institute, Oxford, England, 2013
  • The Gateway, Al Raha Beach Development, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2010
  • South Texas Research Facility, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, 2010
  • University of Chicago Medicine Center for Care and Discovery, Chicago, Illinois, 2012
  • University of Arizona Science Center, Tucson, Arizona, 2011
  • 121st Police Precinct Stationhouse, Staten Island, New York 2013
  • Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, 2013 (expansion)
  • Mina Zayed Waterfront Development, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2012
  • Claremont McKenna College, Kravis Center, Claremont, California, 2011
  • Battersea Power Station Master Plan, London, England, 2020
  • Novartis Building 3, East Hanover, New Jersey, 2013

§In progress

  • Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, Boston, Massachusetts, 2014
  • Henry A. Jordan Medical Education Center, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2014
  • 20 Fenchurch Street, City of London, England, 2014
  • University of South Caroling, Darla Moore School of Business, Columbia, South Carolina, 2014
  • 432 Park Avenue, New York, New York, 2015
  • The New Stanford Hospital, Stanford, California, 2015
  • 1401 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2015
  • Manchester City Football Club, Etihad Campus, 2012-2016


§Sun Glare

Two of the skyscrapers designed by Viñoly, the Vdara in Las Vegas and 20 Fenchurch Street in London, have experienced unusual sun reflectivity problems due to their concave curved glass exteriors acting as respectively cylindrical and spherical reflectors for sunlight. In 2010, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported that sunlight reflected off the Vdara's south-facing tower could make swimmers in the hotel pool uncomfortably warm, as well as melting plastic cups and shopping bags; employees of the hotel referred to the phenomenon as the "Vdara death ray". During an unusually warm 2013 summer in London, sunlight reflecting off 20 Fenchurch Street melted parts on a parked automobile as well as scorching the carpet of a nearby barber shop.




  • Hilary Lewis and Roman Viñoly, THINK NEW YORK A Ground Zero Diary ISBN 1-920744-74-6
  • Rafael Viñoly, The Making of Public Space: 1997 John Dinkeloo Memorial Lecture ISBN 1-891197-00-2

§External links

  • Rafael Viñoly Architects PC
  • Works by or about Rafael Viñoly in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
  • Rafael Viñoly collected news and commentary at The New York Times

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