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RVA; Pressures and Distortions: City Dwellers as Builders and Critics


Rafael Viñoly Architects (RVA) and its namesake designer have built a worldwide reputation for work driven by the belief that the essential responsibility of architecture is to elevate the public realm. As such, the firm’s Research Program issued an international call for proposals and organized a publication analyzing how residents in China, Latin America, and Indonesia are designing, constructing, and interpreting cities.

Comprised of more than 400 pages of case-study narrative and over 500 photographs, plans, and drawings, Pressures and Distortions is a significant tome, both in subject and size. Establishing a hierarchy and identity within each of the book’s seven case studies and extracting and packaging all of the content for reader accessibility were primary challenges. Matching the high level of sophistication of the firm with its important publication was also important.


The book’s design reflects RVA's global brand with clean simplicity . A tight page-layout grid and a style guide with strict rules for typography were developed to ensure consistency. A navigation system of numbers and graphic keys appears at the tops of each page for improved wayfinding within each section of the book. Maps, charts, and graphs were redesigned to present data in an easy-to-understand format. In addition to the book’s design, we investigated a multitude of national and international printing options to determine the most economical choice, and oversaw production at an American printer. On the initial leg of its book tour, RVA and its Research Program reported much praise for the finished product.

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