Rene Gonzalez

Rene Gonzalez moved from Cuba with his parents to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, when he was two years old. He knew he wanted to design and took design and planning classes in high school from an early age. Rene received his B.A. from the University of Florida in Gainesville. He then flew across the country to attend UCLA, which has been considered one of the most progressive and advanced programs for his Master in Archeology. While in Los Angeles, Rene had the fantastic opportunities to work under distinguished architects like Frank Israel and Richard Meier. During this time, he was able to experiment with different materials, form, and space.
In 1997, when he had moved back to his home state, he founded RGA (Rene Gonzalez Architects) in Miami, Florida. For over twenty years, RGA has been known for imagining sophisticated structures deeply ingrained with a sense of place and masterfully brought to life. RGA has also earned international praise for its efforts to respond to impending climate change conditions by developing resilient solutions for sea-level rise in coastal communities. He strives to connect nature and architecture using a holistic style that combines architecture, outside surroundings, interiors, landscaping, and product design.
When starting to plan a new project, RGA approaches it with a distinctive design methodology that requires them to listen to the client and listen to the site’s specific voice. A significant relationship between the building and its inhabitants and the building and its natural surroundings must be established because Mr. Gonzalez thoroughly believes that the building where we live will have an overwhelming impact on our lives. Design is meant to leave an impression.
Some critics have called his work vernacular. But he says, “vernacular for us means interpreting a place and capturing its essence.” While RGA does utilize a holistic style, it is also very design-orientated and contemporary work that illustrates the ability to distill the essence of a place by interpreting patterns, ideas, and cultural conditions. He is a master of connecting space with the area and strives to shift the perception of shape and design.

The collaboration of modern architecture with nature is shown in all of his works. GLASS, an ultra-high-end oceanfront condominium property in South of Fifth’s trendy neighborhood in South Beach, is designed to bring the outdoors and indoors together as one with its glass and metal exterior reflecting the sand, sky, and water, the natural elements of Miami Beach.

Louver House, another ultra-lux condominium property in South of Fifth, is designed much differently than the contemporary GLASS but still modern in its design. The Louver House was originally The Belvedere Bungalow, a 1920’s art deco building on the famed Ocean Drive, and Mr. Gonzalez, while still embracing the modern South of Fifth neighborhood, pays homage to this bygone landmark. He was able to construct a natural and comfortable environment that captures the beauty and life of South Beach and the art deco look of Ocean Drive.

His Prarie Avenue Project is a beautiful house built in South Beach, but it feels like being removed from its urban activity because of its layout and surroundings. It is an example of one of his newer works that incorporate the buildings built on stilts to withstand the impending climate change that might affect the area.
Los Angeles architecture is some of the best in the United States, and Mr. Gonzalez thinks Miami is catching up to it. Both cities share many of the same natural elements that make them noteworthy: beautiful weather, crystal clear turquoise water, incredible settings, and abundant natural light. He thinks that these, combined with Art Basel events, introduce Miami to a larger international audience and a more open view of the world.
He has a solid commitment to Florida and embraces the beauty of nature and the environment, and looks to the future with great hope.