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Rafael Viñoly, architect who designed ‘The Walkie-Talkie’ building, dies aged 78

Portrait of architect Rafael Vinoly. 25SEP12 (Photo by Jonathan Wong/South China Morning Post via Getty Images) Portrait of architect Rafael Vinoly, September 25, 2012.

 (CNN) — Rafael Viñoly, the Uruguayan-born architect who designed 20 Fenchurch Street in London, nicknamed “The Walkie-Talkie,” has died, his firm says. He was 78.

“On behalf of my family, my co-workers and our many partners throughout the world, I am saddened to report that my father, the founder and namesake of our firm Rafael Viñoly Architects, passed away unexpectedly,” his son Román said in a statement.

“He was a visionary who will be missed by all those whose lives he touched through his work,” he added.

Founded in 1983 by Viñoly, Rafael Viñoly Architects is based in New York City, with offices and projects across the world.

Viñoly leaves behind a legacy in his award-winning portfolio which includes “The Walkie-Talkie” building, nicknamed for its resemblance to the communication device.

Located at the heart of London’s financial district, the building is one of his most famous works, having caused controversy for its futuristic design and for reflecting light hot enough to damage cars and cook eggs.

Other projects include 432 Park Avenue, a tower defined by its grid of 10-square-meter windows, rising into New York’s skyline, and a terminal at Carrasco International Airport, shaped like a wing that rolls into the dunes of his home country.

Uruguay is also home to the circular Laguna Garzón Bridge, which forces travelers using it to slow down and enjoy the panoramic scenery.

In Asia, the Tokyo International Forum shows Viñoly’s touch: its Glass Hall comprises two intersecting glass and steel arcs.

Viñoly also designed the English Premier League team, Manchester City’s training ground, City Football Academy, the club tweeting Friday: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our cherished friend and renowned architect, Rafael Viñoly.”

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”