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March 2023 began with sad news from the architecture world – acclaimed architect Rafael Viñoly has died at the age of 78 in a Manhattan hospital, 44 years after he came to New York to escape political persecution in Buenos Aires. The Uruguayan-born architect started his eponymous firm in 1983, years after starting his first firm, Estudio de Arquitectura Manteola-Petchersky-Sánchez Gómez-Santos-Solsona-Viñoly, at the age of 18 in Buenos Aires.

“He leaves a rich legacy of distinctive and timeless designs that manifested in some of the world’s most recognizable and iconic structures” – Statement from Román Viñoly, Rafael’s son and collaborator

Rafael Viñoly Architects’ works can be found all over the world, but the founder had a special affinity for his adopted hometown of New York. From a new police station house in Staten Island to the interiors of the Queens Museum of Art; from the renovation of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum to athletic facilities at Lehman College in the Bronx, Mr. Viñoly was proud to proclaim that he had designed buildings in all five boroughs.

In Manhattan, his firm submitted a proposal to redesign Ground Zero in the wake of the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center; his vision included two soaring lattice-work towers that would feature parks and performance spaces. This did not come to pass, but projects like the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at City College of New York, and Jazz at Lincoln Center did. His esteemed portfolio also includes a number of residential buildings that transformed the local skyline (if not the entire city’s) and established their neighborhoods as destinations for luxury buyers.

432-Park-Avenue-01 432 Park Avenue (Douglas Elliman)
When 432 Park Avenue was completed, it was the tallest building in the world and an standard-bearer of Billionaires' Row. Other towers to the west have outstripped it in height, but none have offered anything to compete with its design. The minimalist concrete structural frame is punctuated with 10' x 10' windows in every residence, allowing for panoramic skyline, Central Park, and river views.

277-Fifth-Avenue-01 277 Fifth Avenue (Douglas Elliman)
When 277 Fifth Avenue was completed, it dethroned Trump Tower as the tallest residential building on Fifth Avenue. The supertall on the rise at 262 Fifth Avenue is poised to outstrip 277 Fifth, but it will not have the same place in local history. Mr. Vinoly incorporated his building's structural elements in such a way that the interiors are uninterrupted by columns, thus allowing for panoramic views in all directions.

25-West-28th-Street-01 The Ritz-Carlton Residences, New York, NoMad (Douglas Elliman)
Also in NoMad, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel was part of a hospitality building boomlet that made the neighborhood attractive to visitors as well as residents. It is distinguished by the slender tower rising from a five-story podium; at the top are 16 penthouse residences located above the hotel rooms, but offering access to the same services and amenities.

3-Waterline-Square-01 Three Waterline Square (Evan Joseph)
When the Waterline Square complex was still on the drawing board, the developers touted the impeccable architectural credentials of the three towers' designers. Mr. Viñoly's entrant, Three Waterline Square, offers the appearance of a multi-faceted crystal with its sloping elevations and angled rooftops. The building offers direct access to the Waterline Club, a 100,000+ square-foot amenity suite designed by frequent Viñoly collaborator Rockwell Group; founder and president David Rockwell describes him as "voraciously curious."

125-Greenwich-Street-01 Rendering of 125 Greenwich Street (MARCH)
To the south of the World Trade Center, 125 Greenwich Street was conceived as Lower Manhattan's answer to 432 Park Avenue (see above). While not set to offer the same dizzying height, its rounded corners and glass facade promise equally impressive architecture and views. Construction has been stalled for years, but the developers received a new round of financing in February 2023 that should allow them to complete construction and launch sales by the end of this year at the soonest.

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