Laffoley was born to an Irish Catholic family.
His father, Paul Laffoley, Sr., the president of
the Cambridge Trust Company, was also a lawyer
and taught classes at Harvard Business School.
Early in life, Laffoley, Sr. also did on-stage performances as a medium.
By Laffoley's account, he spoke his first word
("Constantinople") at the age of six months,
and then lapsed into 4 years of silence.
He attended the progressive Mary Lee Burbank
School in Belmont, Massachusetts, where his
draftsman's talent was ridiculed by his Abstract
After attending Boston public schools for a
short time, Laffoley matriculated at Brown
University, graduating in 1962 with honors
in Classics, Philosophy, and Art History.
Laffoley has written that, in his senior year at
Brown, he was given eight electric-shock
In 1963, he attended the Harvard Graduate School
of Design, and apprenticed with the sculptor
Mirko Basaldella before being dismissed from the
institution. Thereafter, he moved to New York to
apprentice with the visionary architect
Frederick John Kiesler. He was also hired for the
design team of the World Trade Center, but was
soon after fired by the chief architect,
Minoru Yamasaki, for his unconventional ideas.
In 1964, Laffoley began work in an eighteen- by
thirty-foot utility room to found the Boston
Visionary Cell, where he has produced the large
majority of his work.
During a CAT scan of his head in 1992, a piece of
metal 3/8 of an inch long was discovered in the
occipital lobe of his brain, near the pineal
gland. Local Mutual UFO Network investigators
declared it to be "an alien nanotechnological
laboratory." Laffoley has come to believe that
the "implant" is extraterrestrial in origin and
is the main motivation behind his ideas and
In the summer of 2001, Laffoley fell from a
20-foot ladder and broke both legs. His right
leg subsequently became infected and was
amputated below the knee. He documented some of
his theories about why his fall occurred in the
oil painting The Fetal Dream of Life into Death
After the destruction of the World Trade Center
towers on September 11, 2001, Laffoley was one
of a number of architects who, in 2002, submitted
designs for the competition to plan the Freedom
Tower. Laffoley took his inspiration from the
work of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.
His conception was to plan a gigantic hotel in
the style of Gaudí's Sagrada Familia church in