Rafael Vinoly, architect known for unique structures, dead at 78

Rafael Vinoly, a Uruguayan-born and New York-based architect known for designing landmark buildings around the world, has died at the age of 78, his family announced Friday.

Vinoly's death Thursday was announced by his son Roman on the website of the family firm, Rafael Vinoly Architects.

"He was a visionary who will be missed by all those whose lives he touched through his work," the son's statement said.

Vinoly's sometimes controversial work features more than 600 structures around the world, including office and residential buildings, hotels, concert halls, stadiums and airports.

One of his better known works is the so-called Walkie Talkie building in London -- an almost cartoonish skyscraper that is broader at the top than the bottom and looks like it is sagging.

Britain's Manchester City football team, for which Vinoly designed its training ground, called City Football Academy, expressed its condolences on Twitter.

Some of Vinoly's projects have drawn criticism.

One is 432 Park Avenue, an 85-floor residential building in Manhattan, some of whose multi-millionaire tenants have sued over what they say are banging and creaking noises and vibrations coming from the building.

In London, the Walkie Talkie building at 20 Fenchurch Street raised eyebrows in 2013 because sunlight reflected off its mirrored concave side melted various parts on a Jaguar car parked nearby.

"He leaves a rich legacy of distinctive and timeless designs that manifested in some of the world's most recognizable and iconic structures," Roman Vinoly wrote.