Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Book - Rafael Vinoly Architects


The architect Rafael Vinoly was born in Uruguay but lives and works now in New York. Actually the firm has offices across the network of important cities including London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Abu Dhabi. Surprisingly there is no Rafael Vinoly Architects office in Tokyo.

Surprising that is, because the project he is probably best known is in Tokyo, the Tokyo International Forum. Its a project started back in 1989 and essentially a mixed use complex, pretty much including every possible function. The complexity of the project is dramatically increased by a combination of location and public transport access and connection points. The complex sits on top of different intersecting tube lines and connects to overground and bus.

New Stanford Hospital
Image by Rafael Vinoly Architects, taken from mikesblender / Tokyo International Forum, completed in 1996, by Rafael Vinoly Architects.

The solution Rafael Vinoly Architects have built is essentially a large public hall with a very dramatic roof, transforming the complex into a, in the words of Rafael Vinoly, "social transport hub".

The new Prestel publication on the body of work created by Rafael Vinoly Architects presents in large format the wide spectrum of projects from very early on all the way through to some very recent project, like the New Stanford Hospital, in chronological order. The book, edited by Rafael Vinoly and Philip Jodidio, presents a selection of projects with links to related projects. This makes for quite an interesting reading, where the linearity of a conventional book is interrupted here and there.

New Stanford Hospital
Image by Rafael Vinoly Architects, taken from inhabitat / Rendering of artist impressions of the New Stanford Hospital. Interesting how everyone on the renderings looks so healthy. No wheelchairs crouches or anything.

It is a massive book and it is one of those large volumes that you wont carry with you to take on holiday. However, Rafael Vinoly is one of the really big names in the group of Foster, Renzo Piano, Richard Meier, Rafael Moneo and Frank Gerry. This group of architecture dinosaurs has developed a strange type of commercial but specific architecture operating on a large scale globally. The present project list in this publication suggests no other.

Interesting however are Vinolys very early projects. Some of the work he has been doing while working in Argentina with the Estudio Arquitectura. For example the project for the Amsterdam City Hall in 1967 he developed for the international competition.

Battersea development
Image by Rafael Vinoly Architects, taken from skyscrapercity / Rendering of artist impressions of the Battersea development plan. Not sure what state this project is currently in.

He has also developed projects recently for very public location, including Ground Zero in New York or Battersea in London. Or there is also the 20 Fenchuch Street Tower in London or very decadent in Uruguay, the Edificio Acqua where architecture definitely surrenders to the 'every developer's wet dream' type of building. Neverhteless Rafael Vinoly Architects have some great projects as for example the Mahler 4 Office Tower in Amsterdam.

Book Cover Rafael Vinoly Architects
Image taken from BookPlus / Book cover.

Rafael Vinoly and Philip Jodidio, 2011. Rafael Vinoly Architects, London: Prestel Publishing

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