Known to friends as Viggie, Vignolo was born in Stockton, California. He attended junior college at College of the Pacific before enrolling at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1946. Studying under Robert Royston and Leland Vaughan, he earned his B.S.L.A., and in 1950 began studies at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.
During his Harvard years, Vignolo gained hands-on experience in the field, working for Chambers & Moriece in Cambridge and part-time for Lawrence Halprin in San Francisco. After graduating in 1953, Vignolo served in Alaska and California with the U.S. Army’s 30th Engineers-Topographical Group. Concluding his military service in 1955, he was awarded the Charles Eliot Traveling Fellowship, which allowed him to travel throughout Europe. He returned to San Francisco and went to work full-time at Lawrence Halprin & Associates, where he was made an associate in 1957 and also served as office manager. In 1964, Vignolo was promoted to vice-president and principal of the firm. In this role, he served as principal designer for Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Vignolo left Halprin’s office in 1972 to begin his own practice. He worked on a broad range of projects and collaborated on a regular basis with other architects, including Edward Charles Bassett and Walter Wisznia. Notable among his designs were plans for the National Bank and and expansion of North Park Shopping Center in Dallas, Texas; the San Francisco Zoo in California; and a roof garden for the Weyerhaeuser Headquarters in Tacoma, Washington.