Rafael Viñoly Architects research programs serve to further the dialogue on planning and design—both within the firm and for the wider architecture community beyond.

Launched in 2005, Rafael Viñoly Architects’ Training and Research (RVATR) is a series of programs developed in response to the need for the practice of architecture to return more of what is learned through designing and constructing buildings to the field itself. Each program creates a process through which architectural knowledge can be developed free of the constraints of particular projects, sites, budgets, or programs—yet informed at every step by the realities of practice.

Rafael Viñoly Architects’ research programs serve to further the dialogue on planning and design—both within the firm and for the wider architecture community beyond. They also provide the firm with a unique competitive advantage in the ability to apply research results directly to the design process. We conduct research and disseminate it though symposia and publications to narrow the knowledge gap between formal instruction and the technical and social challenges that face the architecture profession.

RVATR awards grants to individual researchers with ideas that have the potential to improve the craft or practice of architecture, and the passion to explore them. These Research Fellows are selected through a competitive proposal process and have worked in close association with architects, engineers, graphic designers, and model makers at Rafael Viñoly Architects, and with non-profit and industry partners. The 2005-06 Research Fellow Joseph Hagerman investigated new ways of integrating green roofs into the construction of buildings. In the following year, Fellow Michael Silver worked in collaboration with the firm’s designers and engineers and with Automated Dynamics, a leading composite manufacturer, on the design of a long-span structural element that could simultaneously cover and illuminate a very large atrium.

Most recently, the RVATR program published Pressures and Distortions, a book of four studies on how residents in four different cities respond creatively to environmental disaster, poverty, and surging urban populations. Research addressed the social effects of urban planning and how city dwellers adapt environments to their unique circumstances, along with an examination of complex policy frameworks and statistical evidence to situate fine-grained observation within a larger context. The cities chronicled in depth include examples from China (Shanghai and Shenzhen), Latin America (Bogotá, Mexico City, Lima, and Rio de Janeiro), and Indonesia (Banda Aceh). Throughout, residents present their experiences firsthand and through careful documentation of their living environments. The authors demonstrate how governments, international relief agencies, architects, and planners can shape better urban environments.