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8 notable NYC projects designed by Latino architects

From modernist buildings to new residential skyscrapers

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Though Latino architects (and other architects of color) have long been underrepresented in the industry, they have been leaving their mark on New York City’s built environment for a long time.

Modernist architects like César Pelli and Oscar Niemeyer have designed some of the city’s most iconic structures (hello, UN Building), while contemporary designers have also left a lasting impression on the city’s skyline (see Rafael Viñoly’s towering 432 Park Avenue).

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from mid-September to mid-October, we’ve compiled a list of notable NYC structures—including skyscrapers, apartment buildings, parks, and shopping malls—designed by Latino architects. As always, if we missed a particularly noteworthy project, let us know in the comments.

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1. Brookfield Place

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Vesey St
New York, NY 10281

César Pelli

Argentinian-American architect César Pelli, who recently died at the age of 92, designed some of the world’s most iconic buildings, including Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers. But in New York, he’s best known for designing the World Financial Center complex, now known as Brookfield Place, and its beautiful glass-enclosed winter garden. Earlier in his career, Pelli worked at Eero Saarinen’s firm, contributing to projects like the now-revived TWA Terminal at JFK Airport.

2. The High Line

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(212) 500-6035
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Isabel Castilla

A principal at James Corner Field Operations, Puerto Rican landscape architect Isabel Castilla worked as the lead designer and project manager for the High Line at the Rail Yards, which opened in 2014. The section is located between West 30th and 34th streets and Tenth and Twelfth avenues, and has several notable features including the 30th Street Grove, the Rail Track Walk, and the Eleventh Avenue Bridge, which is surrounded by gardens.

Eye Ubiquitous/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

3. United Nations Headquarters

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(212) 963-4475
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Oscar Niemeyer

Modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer, who hailed from Brazil, was part of the committee of 10 international architects (led by Wallace K. Harrison) that was tasked with designing the United Nations headquarters in Midtown. The overall concept was attributed to both Niemeyer and Le Corbusier, and the pair also collaborated on the 39-story Secretariat building and General Assembly structure, which was completed in 1952.

Osugi/Shutterstock.com

4. 432 Park Avenue

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432 Park Ave
New York, NY 10022

Rafael Viñoly

Starchitect Rafael Viñoly, born in Montevideo, Uruguay, is the man behind 432 Park Avenue, the 96-story skyscraper that currently holds the title of the tallest residential building in NYC. The 1,396-foot tower has 106 residences, the most expensive of which sold for $91 million in 2017. Its distinctive, minimalist facade was reportedly inspired by a Josef Hoffmann wastepaper basket, and described thusly on Viñoly’s website: “[a] regular grid of exposed concrete members creates an open basket within which seven ‘independent buildings’ stack up.”

5. Time Warner Center

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10 Columbus Cir
New York, NY 10019
(212) 823-6300
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Ismael Leyva

Mexican architect Ismael Leyva has been involved as the architect for several notable buildings in the city, including The Charles, Place 57, and The Greenpoint. He was also the executive architect and worked in collaboration with other firms at Related’s 15 Hudson Yards. Further, he designed the layouts and interior architecture for Time Warner Center’s residences, completed in 2004, working alongside the project’s architect of record, David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

Roman Tiraspolsky/Shutterstock.com

6. The Forge

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44-28 Purves St
Long Island City, NY 11101

Gustavo Rodriguez

Born in the Dominican Republic, Gustavo Rodriguez, a partner at FXCollaborative, has worked on several buildings throughout the five boroughs, including the upcoming 1 Willoughby Square, The Ashland, and Long Island City’s The Forge. Completed in 2017, that 38-story rental building is skinny and sleek, with views of the East River and the Manhattan skyline from its apartments.

7. 300 Ashland

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300 Ashland Pl
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Enrique Norten

Enrique Norten, founder of TEN Arquitectos, was born in Mexico City; his New York City projects include Mercedes House in Manhattan and 300 Ashland in Fort Greene. The facade of the 35-story building is said to resemble a boat, and it has a 15,000-square-foot public plaza that’s open to all, not just residents. The building will also soon host several cultural institutions including a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts.

300 Ashland Enrique Norten Courtesy Two Trees Management

8. Weeksville Heritage Center

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158 Buffalo Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11213
(718) 756-5250
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Everardo Jefferson

Hispanic and African-American architect Everardo Jefferson of Caples Jefferson designed Brooklyn’s Weeksville Heritage Center along with his wife, Sarah Caples. Completed in 2013, the center commemorates the first village where free blacks settled in NYC, and its design is aimed at preserving the neighborhood’s history but also “activate its beleaguered reality,” Julie Baumgardner wrote about the project in a 2017 Curbed piece.

Nic Lehoux/View Pictures/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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1. Brookfield Place

Vesey St, New York, NY 10281

César Pelli

Argentinian-American architect César Pelli, who recently died at the age of 92, designed some of the world’s most iconic buildings, including Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers. But in New York, he’s best known for designing the World Financial Center complex, now known as Brookfield Place, and its beautiful glass-enclosed winter garden. Earlier in his career, Pelli worked at Eero Saarinen’s firm, contributing to projects like the now-revived TWA Terminal at JFK Airport.

Vesey St
New York, NY 10281

2. The High Line

New York, NY 10011
Eye Ubiquitous/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Isabel Castilla

A principal at James Corner Field Operations, Puerto Rican landscape architect Isabel Castilla worked as the lead designer and project manager for the High Line at the Rail Yards, which opened in 2014. The section is located between West 30th and 34th streets and Tenth and Twelfth avenues, and has several notable features including the 30th Street Grove, the Rail Track Walk, and the Eleventh Avenue Bridge, which is surrounded by gardens.

3. United Nations Headquarters

New York, NY 10017
Osugi/Shutterstock.com

Oscar Niemeyer

Modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer, who hailed from Brazil, was part of the committee of 10 international architects (led by Wallace K. Harrison) that was tasked with designing the United Nations headquarters in Midtown. The overall concept was attributed to both Niemeyer and Le Corbusier, and the pair also collaborated on the 39-story Secretariat building and General Assembly structure, which was completed in 1952.

4. 432 Park Avenue

432 Park Ave, New York, NY 10022

Rafael Viñoly

Starchitect Rafael Viñoly, born in Montevideo, Uruguay, is the man behind 432 Park Avenue, the 96-story skyscraper that currently holds the title of the tallest residential building in NYC. The 1,396-foot tower has 106 residences, the most expensive of which sold for $91 million in 2017. Its distinctive, minimalist facade was reportedly inspired by a Josef Hoffmann wastepaper basket, and described thusly on Viñoly’s website: “[a] regular grid of exposed concrete members creates an open basket within which seven ‘independent buildings’ stack up.”

432 Park Ave
New York, NY 10022

5. Time Warner Center

10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019
Roman Tiraspolsky/Shutterstock.com

Ismael Leyva

Mexican architect Ismael Leyva has been involved as the architect for several notable buildings in the city, including The Charles, Place 57, and The Greenpoint. He was also the executive architect and worked in collaboration with other firms at Related’s 15 Hudson Yards. Further, he designed the layouts and interior architecture for Time Warner Center’s residences, completed in 2004, working alongside the project’s architect of record, David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

10 Columbus Cir
New York, NY 10019

6. The Forge

44-28 Purves St, Long Island City, NY 11101

Gustavo Rodriguez

Born in the Dominican Republic, Gustavo Rodriguez, a partner at FXCollaborative, has worked on several buildings throughout the five boroughs, including the upcoming 1 Willoughby Square, The Ashland, and Long Island City’s The Forge. Completed in 2017, that 38-story rental building is skinny and sleek, with views of the East River and the Manhattan skyline from its apartments.

44-28 Purves St
Long Island City, NY 11101

7. 300 Ashland

300 Ashland Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11217
300 Ashland Enrique Norten Courtesy Two Trees Management

Enrique Norten

Enrique Norten, founder of TEN Arquitectos, was born in Mexico City; his New York City projects include Mercedes House in Manhattan and 300 Ashland in Fort Greene. The facade of the 35-story building is said to resemble a boat, and it has a 15,000-square-foot public plaza that’s open to all, not just residents. The building will also soon host several cultural institutions including a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts.

300 Ashland Pl
Brooklyn, NY 11217

8. Weeksville Heritage Center

158 Buffalo Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11213
Nic Lehoux/View Pictures/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Everardo Jefferson

Hispanic and African-American architect Everardo Jefferson of Caples Jefferson designed Brooklyn’s Weeksville Heritage Center along with his wife, Sarah Caples. Completed in 2013, the center commemorates the first village where free blacks settled in NYC, and its design is aimed at preserving the neighborhood’s history but also “activate its beleaguered reality,” Julie Baumgardner wrote about the project in a 2017 Curbed piece.

158 Buffalo Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11213