Moshe Safdie

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Safdie, Moshe (1938– ). Israeli-Canadian architect. He worked (1962–3) with L. I. Kahn before setting up his own practice in Montréal, Canada, in 1964. He established his reputation with the ‘Habitat’ housing-scheme at Expo 67, Montréal, in which the parts were given expression and composed like a pile of building-blocks to form the whole. The antithesis of the Corbusian insistence on slab-like forms, it drew on Mediterranean vernacular architecture to create a new paradigmatic megastructure built of prefabricated parts. His subsequent works also explored vernacular elements (e.g. the Habitat for San Juan, Puerto Rico (1968–72)). He designed (with Parkin Associates) the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1993–8). Among his other works may be mentioned the Hebrew Union College Campus (1972–8); the Children's Holocaust Memorial (1976–87) and Holocaust Transport Memorial (1994—featur-ing a railway-wagon used to carry Jews to their deaths), both at Vad Vashem, and the Mamilla Centre (1975–96), all in Jerusalem; the Museum of Civilization, Québec, Canada (1981–6); an extension to the Montréal Museum (1987–92); the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA (1985–95); the Rosovsky Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (1991–4); the Library Square and Federal Tower, Vancouver, Canada (1992–5); and the new town of Modi, Israel (from 1989). Among his publications may be mentioned Beyond Habitat (1970), For Everyone a Garden (1974), Form and Purpose (1982), and Jerusalem: The Future of the Past (1989).


Drew (1972);
Kalman (1994);
Heathcote (1999);
Kalman (1994);
Kohn (ed.) (1996);
Zantovska Mu (ed.) (1996)

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SAFDIE, MOSHE (1938– ), architect and urban designer. Safdie was born in Haifa. A youthful Zionist and socialist, he was dismayed when his family relocated to Montreal when he was 15. He graduated in architecture at McGill University in 1961 before moving to Philadelphia, where he apprenticed for two years under Louis I. *Kahn. Safdie returned to Montreal to open his own architectural office. He took charge of the master plan for Expo '67 in Montreal and was able to realize his graduate thesis as "Habitat 67," a cellular housing scheme. Like lego, this prefabricated residence complex could be transported and resituated. This innovative design brought Safdie immediate international recognition and project commissions in Puerto Rico and New York.

In 1967 Safdie returned to Israel and a Jerusalem reunified after the Six-Day War. He opened a Jerusalem office in 1970 and contributed significantly to the restoration of the Old City of Jerusalem and to connecting the New and Old Cities of Jerusalem. He also was engaged in developing the city of Modi'in, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, the Rabin Memorial Center, and the new Ben-Gurion International Airport in Israel.

In 1978, Safdie was appointed Ian Woodner Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and established his firm's main office in Somerville, Massachusetts. However, he continued to have a strong Canadian presence. He designed major Canadian public institutions, including the Vancouver Public Library, the Quebec Museum of Civilization, and the National Gallery of Canada. Safdie's institutional, cultural, and educational commissions are also found across the United States, in Israel, and around the world, with projects in Singapore, Iran, Senegal, India, and the Canadian arctic. Many of his commissions have been honored with major national and international awards.

In addition to his headquarters in Somerville, Safdie maintains offices in Toronto and Jerusalem. In 1986 Safdie was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He is the brother of the artist Sylvia *Safdie.

[Aliza Craimer (2nd ed.)]

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SAFDIE, Moshe. Canadian/Israeli, b. 1938. Genres: Architecture, Urban studies. Career: Principal, Moshe Safdie Assocs., Montreal, 1964-, Jerusalem, 1971-, and Boston, 1978-. With Van Ginkle and Assocs., architects/ planners, Montreal, 1961-62; with Louis I. Kahn, architect, Philadelphia, 1962-63; Section Head, and Architect/Planner with the Canadian Corp. for 1967 World Exhibition, Montreal, 1963-64; Visiting Professor of Architecture, McGill University, Montreal, 1970; Charlotte Shepherd Davenport Professor of Architecture, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 1971; Director of Urban Design Program, 1978-84, Ian Woodner Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, 1984-89, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Publications: Habitat, 1967; Beyond Habitat, 1970; For Everyone a Garden, 1974; Form and Purpose, 1982; Harvard Jerusalem Studio, 1986; Jerusalem: The Future of the Past, 1989; The City after the Automobile, 1997. Address: Moshe Safdie and Associates, 100 Properzi Way, Somerville, MA 02143, U.S.A. Online address: [email protected]