Co-Founder & CEO
Arq. Ricardo Álvarez-Díaz, AIA, NCARB, CAAPPR
“When design goes from good to great, suddenly the creator becomes invisible.”
– Ricardo Álvarez-Díaz
Ricardo Álvarez-Díaz is a founding partner, former president and CEO of the firm Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón® | Architecture & Interior Design with headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and with offices in Miami, Florida. The firm was founded in 2001 and has been recognized with more than a dozen local and international design awards and has done work in the United States, Central America, South America and the Middle East.
Álvarez-Díaz began his professional career in New York, working for the renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern. He studied in Italy and the United States, where he received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. Currently he is pursuing his Master Degree of Design and Real Estate (GSD) from Harvard University in Boston.
In 2016, Ricardo Álvarez-Díaz was included in the list of the Top 15 Architects in Miami (by Builddirect.com). In 2014 and 2016 his firm was included in the list of Top 50 Retail Design Firms in the US. In 2017 and 2018, the architect was chosen as one of the Top Executive for the Caribbean Business Power 100 and in 2018 his firm was selected number one in the list of Largest Architectural Firms in Puerto Rico by the Caribbean Business Book of Lists.
Álvarez-Díaz is also an author and editor. He served as editor in New York for The Classicist magazine, and last year along with his wife and co-founder, interior designer Cristina Villalón, they published the firm’s first monograph called Places of Purpose. Currently, the architect is finalizing his new book “Thrive, Survive or be Extinct: The Architect as an Entrepreneur”, which will be published later this year.
He is also a professor at the School of Architecture of the University of Puerto Rico and the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. He has lectured in the United States, Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico on architectural and urban design issues. In addition, both he and his company have been published both the local level and abroad. Among those publications are: Rolling Stone, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News, Architecture Magazine, Interior Design, Nexus, Bloomberg, Ocean Drive, Interiors and Sources, Green Building & Design and NBC among others.
During 2015 to 2017 he served as the president of the Builders Association of Puerto Rico marking the first time in the sixty-six years in the history of the organization, that a licensed architect has been appointed to the position.
In 2017, Álvarez-Díaz was appointed by the Governor of Puerto Rico as a member of the board of directors of Invest Puerto Rico, as well as a member of the Governor’s Construction and Housing Advisory Committee. In 2017, he was appointed by the Secretary of State as a liaison between the private sector and the Federal Government (FEMA) on critical infrastructure, construction and housing issues. In 2018, he was also appointed by the Governor of Puerto Rico as a member of the Board of Directors of the ENLACE Project Corporation of the Caño Martín Peña.
As an expert on housing issues, Álvarez-Díaz has actively participated in several boards and advisory panels. He is part of the team that leads the resilient design guides for multifamily and single-family housing development for Puerto Rico in collaboration with Enterprise Communities; he is a commissioner of the ReImagina Puerto Rico Report, in collaboration with CNE, 100 Resilient Cities and the Rockefeller Foundation; and is one of the founders and collaborators of ResilientSee, a global alliance committed to the design and reconstruction of a resilient and sustainable Puerto Rico.
In 2015, he served as president of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Architecture of Puerto Rico. He currently serves as founder and co-chair of the local chapter of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and as an ULI Governor. He is a chair member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and has participated in several institutions both in the United States and in Puerto Rico, including Habitat for Humanity, Guayacán Endowment Fund, Foundation for Puerto Rico, Ponce Art Museum, Protechos, Juntos por Puerto Rico, University of Notre Dame, Saint John’s School and PR Center for Social Concerns.
In collaboration with his wife, interior designer Cristina Villalón, he is a co-sponsor of the Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón Fund of the University of Notre Dame. Annually, the fund awards a prize for a summer internship, in addition to two scholarships for students; Both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels within the School of Architecture, for its outstanding leadership and the implementation of sustainability in its design.
Álvarez-Díaz is licensed to practice architecture in Florida, New York, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.