Moshe Safdie
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Moshe Safdie

Moshe Safdie (Hebrew: ‎; born July 14, 1938) is an architect, urban planner, educator, theorist, and author.[1] Safdie's projects can be found in North and South America, the Middle East and throughout Asia. He is most identified with designing Marina Bay Sands and Jewel Changi Airport, as well as his debut project, Habitat 67, originally conceived as his master's thesis at McGill University, which paved the way for his international career.[2] Safdie's thought leadership and exemplary projects have been identified in and inspiration for generations of architects and architecture.[3][4]

Early life and education

A citizen of Israel, Canada and the United States, Moshe Safdie was born in Haifa in 1938 to a Sephardic Jewish family of Syrian descent.[5] Safdie attended the Reali High School. He spent his summers in a Kibbutz, working the countryside.[6] He tended goats and kept bees. In 1953, the Israeli government restricted imports in response to an economic and currency crisis, severely impacting Safdie's father's textile business.[7] Consequently, at age 15, Safdie and his family relocated to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Safdie completed pre-university training at Westmount High School.[8]

In September 1955 he registered in McGill University Faculty of Engineering's six-year architecture degree program. In his fifth year, Safdie was named University Scholar. The following summer, he was awarded the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Scholarship and traveled across North America to observe housing developments in major cities.[9] In his final year, Safdie developed his thesis: "A Three-Dimensional Modular Building System."[10] He received his degree in 1961.[11]

Career

Encompassing more than seventy-five completed buildings, communities, and master plans on three continents and an even greater number of projects and competition entries, Safdie's career has evolved in a series of distinct phases.[12]

In 1964, Safdie established his own firm in Montreal to undertake work on Habitat 67, an adaptation of his thesis at McGill University.[13]Habitat 67 was a central feature of Expo 67; it pioneered the design and implementation of three-dimensional, prefabricated units for living. Habitat 67 was created as a vital neighborhood with open spaces, garden terraces and many other amenities typically reserved for the single-family home, adapted to high-density urban environments[14] - an important development in architectural history. This seminal project launched the first phase of Safdie's work: A new kind of urbanism.

The second phase of Safdie's career coincided with the establishment of a branch office. In 1970, Safdie opened a Jerusalem office.[15] Safdie's work during this period combined his interests in social activism and advanced technologies with profound respect for historic and regional context.[16] He worked on the restoration of the Old City and the construction of Mamilla Center, linking Old and New Cities. Other significant works in Israel include New City of Modi'in, Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum, Yitzhak Rabin Center for Israel Studies, Ben Gurion International Airport, National Campus for the Archeology of Israel, multiple projects for Hebrew Union College, and others. During this period, Safdie also worked with leaders in Senegal and Iran.[17]

Commissions for significant buildings across North America marked Safdie's next phase in his career. Safdie's ongoing interest in geometry as a generator of architectural shape took new direction, alongside a focus on sensual and symbolic architectural experience and a resolve for understanding clients' aspiration.[18] His cultural projects encapsulated powerful expressions of civic and national identities.[19] Safdie is responsible for the National Gallery of Canada, the Quebec Museum of Civilization, and the Vancouver Library Square. Other notable cultural works include: The Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex, the national museum of the Sikh people in the Punjab, India; the United States Institute of Peace Headquarters on the Mall in Washington, DC; the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri; and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Safdie's twenty-first century projects - another milestone in his career - are characterized by greater geographic range, including the world's most dynamic emerging markets, and for being realized in shorter time spans at larger scales.[20] These landmark developments include: Marina Bay Sands, a mixed-use integrated resort with Singapore's iconic Skypark; Jewel Changi Airport, a new community-centric airport typology combining marketplace and garden; and Raffles City Chongqing, a mixed-use development featuring over one million square meters of housing, office, retail, transportation, and hotel programs. Creator of the world's longest 'Horizontal Skyscraper,'[21] Safdie and team are revolutionizing urban development and high-rise building typology with skybridges and multi-level connectivity.[22][23]

Presently, Safdie and his team are committed to solving contemporary building challenges within workplace, healthcare, and research centers, in imaginative and unexpected ways.[24]

Practice

Moshe Safdie is the Founding Principal and Lead Designer at Safdie Architects, founded in 1964 to prepare for the work on Habitat 67 for the Expo 67 in Montreal.[25] The firm's partners - many of whom joined Safdie after graduation - have been working together for decades.[26]

Within his office, Safdie formed a research program to pursue advanced investigation of design topics. The practice-oriented fellowship explores speculative ideas outside normal business practice constraints. Fellows work independently with Safdie and firm principals to formulate specific proposals and research plans. The salaried position is located in-residence, with full access to project teams and outside consultants. Past fellowships include Habitat of the Future, Mobility on Demand, and Tall Buildings in the City.[27]

Academia

In 1978, after teaching at McGill, Ben Gurion, and Yale universities, Safdie was appointed Director of the Urban Design Program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design (GSD) and moved to Boston, Massachusetts. He served as Director until 1984. From 1984 to 1989, he was the Ian Woodner Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Harvard.[28] Safdie continues to work closely with the GSD, frequently teaching design studio; Notably, Rethinking the Humanist High-Rise (2019) and Rethinking Hudson Yards (2017).[29][30] Safdie regularly travels to, speaks at, and/or Chairs conferences engaged in industry-defining discussions on architecture and beyond.

Personal life

In 1959, Safdie married Nina Nusynowicz, a Polish-Israeli Holocaust survivor. Safdie and Nusynowicz have two children, a daughter and son, born during the inception and erection of Habitat 67. Just before the opening, Safdie and his young family moved into the development. His daughter Taal is an architect in San Diego, a partner of the firm Safdie Rabines Architects; His son Oren is a playwright who has written several plays about architecture.

In 1981, Safdie married Michal Ronnen, a Jerusalem-born photographer and daughter of artist Vera Ronnen. Safdie and Ronnen have two daughters, Carmelle and Yasmin. Carmelle is an artist, and Yasmin is a social worker.

Safdie is the uncle of Dov Charney, founder and former CEO of American Apparel; and he is the great-uncle of the Safdie brothers, the filmmakers behind the 2017 film Good Time and the 2019 film Uncut Gems.

Individual honors

Safdie is the recipient several honourary doctorates. He was awarded the Companion of the Order of Canada, the Gold Medal from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the American Institute of Architects, the National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian, and the Wolf Prize in Architecture.[31]

Published works

Books

Principal publications on Moshe Safdie

  • Jewel Changi Airport. Melbourne, Victoria: Images Publishing Group, 2020.
  • Safdie. Mulgrave, Victoria: Images Publishing Group, 2014.
  • Reaching for the Sky: The Marina Bay Sands Singapore. Singapore: ORO Editions, 2013.
  • Peace Building: The Mission, Work, and Architecture of the United States Institute of Peace. Dalton, MA: The Studley Press, 2011.
  • Valentin, Nilda, ed. Moshe Safdie. Rome: Edizione Kappa, 2010.
  • Moshe Safdie I. Mulgrave, Victoria: Images Publishing Group, 2009.
  • Moshe Safdie II. Mulgrave, Victoria: Images Publishing Group, 2009.
  • Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie. New York:Scala Publishers, Ltd., 2007.
  • Yad Vashem: Moshe Safdie - The Architecture of Memory. Baden, Switzerland: Lars Müller Publishers, 2006.
  • Moshe Safdie, Museum Architecture 1971-1988. Tel Aviv: Genia Schreiber University Art Gallery, Tel Aviv University, 1998.
  • Kohn, Wendy, ed. Moshe Safdie. London: Academy Editions, 1996.
  • Moshe Safdie: Buildings and Projects, 1967-1992. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1996.
  • Rybczynski, Witold. A Place for Art: The Architecture of the National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1993.
  • Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion. Montreal: Montreal Museum of Arts, 1991.

Exhibitions

Films

Archives

The Moshe Safdie Archive, donated to McGill University by the architect in 1990, is one of the most extensive individual collections of architectural documentation in Canada.[32]

Select projects

Gallery

References

  1. ^ "People: Moshe Safdie". Safdie Architects.
  2. ^ "Moshe Safdie Wins 2015 AIA Gold Medal". FastCompany.
  3. ^ "Interlace Wins World Building of the Year". World-Architects.
  4. ^ "BIG designs "Habitat 2.0 for Toronto"". dezeen.
  5. ^ Safdie, Moshe (1970). Beyond Habitat. USA: The M.I.T. Press. p. 47. ISBN 0262690365.
  6. ^ Moshe Safdie: Buildings and Projects, 1967-1992. McGill-Queen's University Press. 1996. p. 13. ISBN 0-7735-1510-0.
  7. ^ Valentin, Nilda (2010). Moshe Safdie. Rome: Edizioni Kappa. p. 16. ISBN 978-88-6514-019-2.
  8. ^ Moshe Safdie: Buildings and Projects, 1967-1992. McGill-Queen's University Press. 1996. p. 13. ISBN 0773515100.
  9. ^ Moshe Safdie: Buildings and Projects, 1967-1992. McGill-Queen's University Press. 1996. p. 13. ISBN 0773515100.
  10. ^ "Moshe Safdie Archive - Thesis". McGill University Library.
  11. ^ Moshe Safdie: Buildings and Projects, 1967-1992. McGill-Queen's University Press. 1996. p. 14. ISBN 0773515100.
  12. ^ Albrecht, Donald; Williams, Sarah; Safdie, Moshe. Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie. Scala Arts Publishers, Inc. p. 27. ISBN 9781785510281.
  13. ^ "Biography". McGill University Library. Retrieved .
  14. ^ Safdie, Moshe (1974). Wolin, Judith (ed.). For Everyone a Garden. The M.I.T. Press. ISBN 0262191083.
  15. ^ "Biography". McGill University Library. Retrieved .
  16. ^ Albrecht, Donald; Williams, Sarah; Safdie, Moshe. Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie. Scala Arts Publishers, Inc. p. 27. ISBN 9781785510281.
  17. ^ "Biography". McGill University Library. Retrieved .
  18. ^ Albrecht, Donald; Williams, Sarah; Safdie, Moshe. Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie. Scala Arts Publishers, Inc. p. 27. ISBN 9781785510281.
  19. ^ Albrecht, Donald; Williams, Sarah; Safdie, Moshe. Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie. Scala Arts Publishers, Inc. p. 27. ISBN 9781785510281.
  20. ^ Albrecht, Donald; Williams, Sarah; Safdie, Moshe. Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie. Scala Arts Publishers, Inc. p. 27. ISBN 9781785510281.
  21. ^ "World's Longest 'Horizontal Skyscraper' Topped Out". New Civil Engineering. Retrieved .
  22. ^ "The 50 Most Influential Tall Buildings of the Last 50 Years". Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Retrieved .
  23. ^ "10-Year Award of Excellence Winners". Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Retrieved .
  24. ^ "Projects". Safdie Architects. Retrieved .
  25. ^ "Safdie Architects". Retrieved .
  26. ^ "Exclusive visit: Safdie Architects". Architectural Digest China. Retrieved .
  27. ^ "Safdie Architects Research Fellowship". Retrieved .
  28. ^ Safdie. Australia: The Images Publishing Group Pty Ltd. 2014. ISBN 9781864705591.
  29. ^ "Re-thinking a Humanist Skyscraper City". Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Retrieved .
  30. ^ "The High Line as Urban Spine". Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Retrieved .
  31. ^ "Biography". McGill University Library. Retrieved .
  32. ^ Moshe Safdie: Buildings and Projects, 1967-1992. McGill-Queen's University Press. 1996. p. 6. ISBN 0-7735-1510-0.

External links


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