Habitat ’67 – Moshe Safdie

Moshe Safdie received an invitation from me to speak to my students studying design in the early 80′s. Due to time restraints, he wrote a lovely letter of refusal. One of my constituents and good friend asked me to do a blog about Mr. Safdie. It is my pleasure to accept her invitation to write about a favorite architect.
The design, “Habitat 67″ was an early invention of Mr. Safdie. Multifamily concrete stacked modular units, it was a study in people placement and the practical use of space. He designed the buildings in 1967 for the Montreal Exposition. Although, someone I know who visited the Exposition, experienced the architecture and found it “cold.” Still it was an excellent example of industrially produced modular housing. The design showcased construction techniques unheard of at the time.
In March, 2009, Habitat 67 received the classification of a historic monument.

According to “e-architect”, Habitat 67 began life as a master’s thesis project prepared in 1961 by Mr. Safdie, then an architecture student at McGill University. He came up with the idea of a high density apartment building that would provide residents with privacy as well as peace and quiet. He was invited to develop his idea for Expo 67 and did so alongside engineer August E. Komendant. By the time the universal exhibition came round, the project was partially completed, and 26 apartments were reserved for the Expo. The housing complex had 354 prefabricated units, initially forming 158 one or two story apartments with one to four bedrooms. The apartments were divided into three pyramids.  Each apartment featured a landscaped garden built on the roof of the level below. Follow the link to check out this exciting property.  Waterfront property and tennis courts.

Mr Safdie established his architectural practice in 1964  in Montreal to design and supervise the construction of Habitat 67. Today the principal office is in Boston, Massachusetts with branch offices in Jerusalem, Toronto, and Singapore. The international practice provides a full range of urban planning, architectural and interior design services. Activities range from the design of public institutions-including museums, performing arts centers, libraries, and university campuses-to the design of airports. housing, mixed-use complexes, and new communities.

Below is a sample of his current innovative work.

Marina Bay Sands Moshe Safdie, Singapore


Luxury hotel, Marina Bay Sands recently opened the doors of its microcosm to the public and has already wowed tourists with its unique and luxurious design. Up at the top, a pool for your swimming pleasure.

The Marina Bay Sands hotel is located in Singapore has been designed with one goal in mind, to be the leading business, leisure and entertainment destination in Asia. It holds the title of the most expensive hotel built till this day, as its investment by the Las Vegas Sands Corporation reaches $5 billion. The Marina Bay Sands hotel is a mixed-use integrated resort with 2,560-rooms, three 55-storey towers, a 150-meters infinity pool on top of the towers, an indoor canal, a museum shaped like a lotus flower, the best shopping mall in Asia and world-class celebrity chef restaurants.  Furthermore, it includes theatres, an outdoor event plaza, a convention center and a casino with private gaming rooms for premium players.

If you wanted apartment living, waterfront, with all the luxuries and amenities, would Habitat interest you? Or do you prefer the kind of living that affords more privacy?

Happy Thanksgiving and many blessings to you all. I will be back in two weeks.




    1. gailingis Post author

      Hi Marian, good to see you here. Do you remember the 1967 Expo in Montreal? Lots have emailed me they were there and experienced the Habitat apartments. I missed that one, but I would to live in one of them, short term of course.

    1. gailingis Post author

      Casey, thank you for stopping by. The building(s) are quite the sight. I would love to play tennis there. It looks like there are two courts that are part of the complex. If I remember correctly, I think Moshe is a tennis buff.

  1. gailingis Post author

    Jack, it would be quite an experience to live there. Let’s all get together and rent an apartment for awhile. I think it is very expensive though. I mean…waterfront and tennis courts.

    Lucky you having seen it in person. Tom said he saw it too, and found it cold. In its current environment it is probably wonderful with the water, tennis courts and foundation plantings.

  2. Jack McKenzie

    I was 14 at the time of Expo 67 and visited with my family. Two things impressed me greatly before and during our visit.- The Habitat 67 and the Dome. Always thought The Habitat would be a cool place to live. I happy to see he’s gone on to create such such a beautiful hotel.

  3. katy lee

    I have never seen anything like this! WOW! What a cool place to call home. So, the people who live there don’t experience the noise pollution like other apartment buildings where floors are stacked on top of each other? What a neat concept.

    See you Saturday!

    1. gailingis Post author

      The concept seems to have worked. It would be fun to rent an apartment and experience living there for awhile.

      I can’t come on Saturday. I donated my ticket. Boo hoo, sad face and all those things. My plate is too full. Take notes please.

      1. gailingis Post author

        How perceptive of you to notice how noise pollution is avoided. As an architectural student I heard the concept didn’t work, but I never heard anything about it since. Seems the project has been celebrated, but another one has never been built. Cost lots of money so it’s been said. I didn’t write up the construction, but it was pretty well reinforced. Concrete in the early years crumbles, like FLW Falling Water. I don’t know how well these have stood up in the rainy cold weather. Today those issues are more readily addressed. Our technology has improved in construction.


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