Globally respected architect of Kravis Center and The Massoud remembered

Rafael Vinoly, architect of the Kravis Center and the Massoud.

World-renowned modernist architect Rafael Viñoly, whose design of Kravis Center and The Massoud buildings on Claremont McKenna College’s (CMC) campus, created a defining architectural identity for the College, passed away on March 2, 2023, at age 78.

“Rafael Viñoly created a lasting legacy at Claremont McKenna College,” said David Mgrublian ’82 P’11, Chair of CMC’s Board of Trustees who worked closely with Viñoly on Kravis Center. “Rafael understood personal interactions make CMC special, and his stunning design significantly enhanced that critical aspect of the College’s social fabric. Now, the western gateway to our campus is filled with students, faculty, and staff, meeting and collaborating on beautiful outdoor terraces, within fountained courtyards, and in natural, light-infused interior spaces.”

Since its completion in 2011, Kravis Center, named in honor of CMC benefactor Henry Kravis ’67 and Marie-Josée Kravis, is a treasured CMC landmark with its sunny terraces and breathtaking views of The Claremont Colleges and the San Bernardino Mountains.

The five-level, 162,000-square-foot academic and administrative facility serves as the western gateway to the campus, while the transparent pavilion, The Massoud, formerly known as the “Living Room,” is a study destination along the campus mall’s central axis, and its beauty elicits CMC pride.

Rafael Vinoly, architect of the Kravis Center and the Massoud.

CMC President Emeritus Pamela Gann said she has long-admired the work of Viñoly: “It was my true honor to work and collaborate with Rafael Viñoly when he designed Kravis Center and The Massoud. He captured the best of the College, creating defining architectural spaces, which truly set the stage for the growth of the College.”

Earning the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold certification, Kravis Center includes notable sustainable features such as radiant panel chill beams for heating and cooling, naturally lit internal spaces, and “green roof” decks, all of which take advantage of the temperate Southern California climate. Kravis Center won the ENR 2011 awards for Best Higher Education/Research project in the nation and Best Overall project in California.

“Rafael Viñoly was an incredibly gifted architect,” reflected Kravis. “Marie-Josée and I were so impressed with his Kravis Center vision and design on the Claremont McKenna campus. He created a space that encouraged exciting synergies among students, faculty, departments, and research institutes.”

Kravis Center houses the Office of Admission and the Office of Financial Aid, as well as the Trustees’ Boardroom, the Freeberg Forum, the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, and the Poppa Family Technology Classroom. It is also home to several of the College’s distinctive research institutes and centers, which give students a chance to study and affect real-world change: the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights, the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies, the Kravis Leadership Institute, the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, and the Salvatori Center. Kravis Center also houses the Government, History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies Departments.

In addition to Kravis Center, Viñoly designed some of the world’s most recognizable and iconic structures, including the Tokyo International Forum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.

Anne Bergman and Gilien Silsby


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