Rafael Guastavino was a Spanish architect, engineer and builder who is most famous for the architectural terra cotta tile vault and arch system that he designed and constructed in the late 1800s. Patented in the United States in 1885, the Guastavino tile system uses layers of terra cotta tiles set in a herringbone pattern in Portland cement. This vault and arch system became very popular in many major U.S. cities because of terra cotta’s non-combustible properties, as well as because of the lesser expense and weight associated with this technology.


Boston Valley Terra Cotta is proud to carry on the legacy of Raphael Guastavino and his vault system. This ancient technology still has a place in today’s arch and vault architecture. Additionally, we have provided Guastavino tiles for the restoration of two of Raphael Guastavino’s famous constructions – the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal and the Queensboro Bridge, both in New York City. Tiles were also provided for restoration projects at the Louisiana State Capitol and West Point Academy’s entry gate moat. Please click here to download our terra cotta extrusion die catalog (PDF 4MB) for offerings in Guastavino tiles.