Tribecan Rafael Viñoly, celebrated architect of buildings across the globe, dies at 78

Photo by Michael Toporkoff, University of California San Francisco

Tribecan Rafael Viñoly, the celebrated architect who has left his stamp on cities across the globe with noted and celebrated buildings, including several here, died on Thursday of an aneurism, The Architect’s Newspaper reported. He was 78. The Times also has an obit, which they will update over the weekend.

This is a terrible loss for Downtown, where Viñoly left his mark not just as an architect but also as an urban visionary and generous supporter of these neighborhoods, creating a master plan for the World Trade Center site and lending his talents to local parks. He was also a lovely man — animated, warm, and full of life.

Viñoly, a Uruguayan immigrant who received his architecture degree in Buenos Aires, founded his eponymous firm in 1983 here in the city, and in 1990 converted a special space in Soho on Varick and Vandam for their offices. His office was a magical place — I was there in the ’90s as a young community board member and remembered thinking it felt like an architect’s playground. Disney bought the entire block and kicked out all tenants on the site in 2019 and the firm moved to 375 Pearl Street, the former Verizon building near the Brooklyn Bridge.

Viñoly designed 125 Greenwich at Thames, where construction just resumed, as well as Waterline Square, the new luxury development on far west 59th Street; the Ritz Carlton in Nomad; and 432 Park Avenue, the 1400-foot-high skyscraper on 57th Street that is part of Billionaire’s Row. He also was the architect for Jazz at Lincoln Center.

The firm had offices in London, Manchester, Abu Dhabi, Buenos Aires, Chicago and Palo Alto and projects spanning six continents and a diverse array of buildings: courthouses, museums, performing arts centers, convention centers, athletic facilities, banks, hotels, hospitals, laboratories, recreational venues, residential complexes, and on.

From The Times: “Rafael Viñoly was born in Montevideo on June 1, 1944, to Román Viñoly Barreto, a film and theater director, and Maria Beceiro, a math teacher. He studied architecture at the University of Buenos Aires, but even before graduating he had founded what became one of Argentina’s largest architecture firms. In 1978, he obtained a teaching position at Harvard and moved his family to the United States. The following year they settled in New York.

“In addition to his son, Tribecan Román Viñoly, a director at the firm, survivors include Mr. Viñoly’s wife, Diana, an interior designer; his stepsons Nicolas and Lucas Michael; a granddaughter, and three step-grandchildren.”



  1. Very sad. I am a huge fan of 432 Park Avenue.

  2. We are so saddened by the passing of Rafael.
    A great loss for our city, and country. He was talented, an endless source of energy and darn good looking too!

  3. The news of Rafael Vinoly passing came as a shock and I am still in disbelief.
    Rafael was a charming, kind, smart, and a lovely neighbor.
    A talented pianist who loved classical music. I so enjoyed hearing him play when he was home. I will miss him and his music.