A native of The Bronx, New York of Italian American descent, Ranalli attended Mount St. Michael Academy high school. He was inspired to become an architect at the age of about 13 when he saw the then-unfinished Guggenheim Museum which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. He graduated from Mount Saint Michael Academy in The Bronx in 1964. From 1967 to 1968, he attended New York Institute of Technology, and Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, where he received a Bachelor of Architecture in 1972. Thereafter, Ranalli attended Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Massachusetts, earning a Master of Architecture in 1974. Upon graduation, Ranalli traveled on a research grant throughout Europe before returning to New York.
Ranalli founded his firm, George Ranalli, Architect in New York in 1977. In his early career, architecture critic Paul Goldberger described Ranalli in a New York Times article as among the "better younger architects" working in the Modernist idiom. Goldberger commented that Ranalli's designs were tied "as closely to the ancient craft of building as to the modern business of churning out huge commercial projects, yet they bespeak a consistent awareness of the realities of our age as well." In 1991, Michael Sorkin described Ranalli as "a creator and preserver of worlds, a precisionist." Ranalli is credited with carrying forward the lessons of Italian architect Carlo Scarpa into new settings. Architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable wrote Ranalli's "purpose is to move modernism into an enriched and more deeply referenced style."Architectural Record In 1996, Yale University granted Ranalli a Master of Arts degree, honoris causa. In 2015, Architectural Record noted Ranalli's career as a Gesamtkunstwerk.2009: Saratoga Avenue Community Center, Brownsville, Brooklyn, a public-building project for New York City Housing Authority.
2002: Masterplan for The City College of New York. 36.5 acres (147,710.2594 m2). (Plan only, unbuilt)
1996: K-Loft, urban dwelling (interior).
1990: Fashion Center Building, 525 Seventh Avenue.
1981: Callander School Renovation/ Restoration, Newport, Rhode Island.
1977: First of August/ August Too boutique, New York City.
Ranalli has been exhibited in New York City at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, American Craft Museum), Skyscraper Museum, Architectural League of New York, American Institute of Architects, Sperone Westwater Fisher gallery, Artists Space, and The Drawing Center.
Throughout the United States, Ranalli has contributed to exhibitions at Bass Museum, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Yale University The Art Institute of Chicago Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Otis Art Institute, and the Library of Congress.
International exhibitions of Ranalli's work include Centre Pompidou Canadian Centre for Architecture, Museum of Finnish Architecture, XVII Triennale di Milano, and Design Museum, Helsinki.
Ranalli has received professional awards from the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 2015, the New York Society of Architects,New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Architectural League of New York.
Between 1969 and 2015, Ranalli has received design awards from the Society of American Registered Architects; American Institute of Architects, and Progressive Architecture. In 2015, he received Stanford White Award.
Ranalli taught architectural design and visual studies at Yale University School of Architecture & Environmental Design for 23 years, starting in 1976 to 1999; he was William Henry Bishop Visiting Professor in 1988, Associate professor with tenure from 1991, and full Professor from 1995 to 1999. From 1987 to 1999, Ranalli was also a member of the fellowship of Morse College at Yale University.
Additionally, Ranalli has been a visiting professor at numerous colleges and universities, including Boston Architectural Center, Rhode Island School of Design, University of Illinois at Chicago, Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, and Cooper Union.
In 1999, Ranalli was appointed dean of the school of architecture at the City College of New York, renamed in 2009 the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture. In 2005, Ranalli was honored with the Renaissance Award from the Alumni Association of the City College School of Architecture.
Ranalli is known for his academic work in the areas of architecture curation.Yale School of Architecture Art and Architecture Gallery
Spitzer School of Architecture of City College of New York
Ranalli, G. (2015) In Situ: George Ranalli Works & Projects. Shinzen, China: Oscar Riera Ojeda Publishers.
Ranalli, G. (2009) Saratoga. San Raphael, CA: ORO Editions.
Ranalli, G. (1999) Casas Internacional: George Ranalli, Oscar Riera Ojeda (ed.). Buenos Aires: Kliczowski Publishers.
Ranalli, G. (1990) Tokushū : Jōji Ranari = Special feature : George Ranalli. Tokyo, Japan: A + U Publishing Co., Ltd.
Ranalli, G. (1990) Bauten und Projekte = Constructions et Projets. Zürich : Verlag für Architektur Artemis.
Ranalli, G. (1988) George Ranalli: Buildings and Projects. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.