Meet Rafael Viñoly, the architect behind NYC’s iconic 432 Park

Viñoly and 432 Park Avenue (credit: Vimeo)

Ever wonder who is behind some of New York City’s most iconic new buildings?

This week, the Wall Street Journal published an interview with Rafael Viñoly, the architect who designed Gotham’s second-tallest building and the tallest residential building in the world, 432 Park Avenue.

Viñoly says he designed the building “to be a visually discrete and powerful form. It’s a concise and simple architectural solution for a difficult space and, to me, a building with elegant proportions and a very clever structural solution.”

So what influenced Viñoly’s creativity and ability to dream on such a grand scale?

His parents, for one thing. Viñoly’s father was a director of opera and theater programming for Uruguay’s public radio and TV broadcasting station, and his mother taught math. His family moved to Buenos Aires when he was five, and he grew up modestly.

Viñoly also remembers a piano teacher he had as having a big influence on him. “As in many cases with a music teacher like this, I learned many more things than just how to play. She introduced me to philosophy and the contemporary arts of the 1950s and ’60s.”

Even though Viñoly is now fortunate enough to own a Hamburg Steinway at home and keep two pianos at the office, he still laments his inability to play jazz. He even bought a trombone recently to try to conquer the music on a different instrument.

However, Viñoly does have other skills; when he was just 17, someone who saw some of his artwork recommended he try architecture at university. And the rest is history. [WSJ]

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