Internationally renowned architect Rafael Viñoly designs elegant buildings that tend to serve more functions than their owners originally intended: “If you’re spending years of your life dedicated to realizing a resource-intensive and lasting addition to the built environment, you may as well make it do as much as possible. When we can build something that is lucid and efficient, and can be more things to more people, at the core of its design there is always an “Architectural Idea” that organizes the whole thing.”
According to Viñoly, while it is curiosity and optimism that drive the design process leading to the architectural ideas “and may be somehow foundational to all creative pursuits, the development and essence of an architectural idea is fundamentally different from those of motivating ideas in other fields. In other words, an “Architectural Idea” cannot be compared or related to a “Musical Idea”, nor even to a “Design Idea” that might be manifest in an object.”
Goethe said that “Architecture is frozen music” but Viñoly disagrees! “I have played the piano every day for most of my life and by now I may know enough from listening to and playing music to be able to discern quality - and the ways it is conceived, structured and expressed - as I know how to discern it in architecture. And while I have designed “Architecture for Music” like the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York and the Tokyo International Forum, for me, Music and Architecture still have nothing to do with each other.” In the last 5 years, Viñoly has been involved in a project that merges his passions for music and for architecture & design: with a team of technicians, he has been designing and developing an evolution of the grand piano that is built around the “Pianistic Idea” of a more ergonomic, slightly curved keyboard.
From his unique perspective, our conversation will explore how the “Design Process” may differ from the “Creative Process”.