Moshe Safdie
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Moshe Safdie

Moshe Safdie (Hebrew: ‎; born July 14, 1938) is an Israeli-Canadian architect, urban designer, educator, theorist, and author. He is most identified with designing Marina Bay Sands and Jewel Changi Airport, as well as his debut project Habitat 67, which was originally conceived as his Master's thesis while studying at McGill University and paved the way for his international career.[1][2]

Personal life and education

Safdie was born in Haifa in the British Mandate of Palestine, to Syrian-Jewish parents. In 1954, his family moved to Montreal, Canada and in 1959, Safdie married Nina Nusynowicz, a Polish-Israeli, with whom he has two children, a daughter and son.[3] His son Oren Safdie is a playwright who has written several plays about architecture.[4] and his daughter Taal is an architect in San Diego, a partner of the firm Safdie Rabines Architects.[5] He is the uncle of Dov Charney, founder and former CEO of American Apparel and is the great uncle of the Safdie brothers, the filmmakers behind the 2017 film Good Time and the 2019 film Uncut Gems.

In 1961, Safdie received his master's degree in Architecture from the McGill University School of Architecture. In 1981, Safdie married Michal Ronnen, a Jerusalem-born photographer[6], with whom he has two daughters, Carmelle and Yasmin. Carmelle Safdie is an artist, and Yasmin Safdie is a social worker.

Architecture career

After apprenticing with Louis Kahn in Philadelphia, Safdie returned to Montreal to oversee the master plan for Expo 67. In 1964, he established his own firm to undertake Habitat 67, an adaptation of his McGill thesis. Habitat 67, which pioneered the design and implementation of three-dimensional, prefabricated units for living, was a central feature of Expo 67 and an important development in architectural history. He was awarded the 1967 Construction Man of the Year Award from the Engineering News Record and the Massey Medal for Architecture in Canada for Habitat 67.[7]

Habitat 67

In 1970, Safdie opened a branch office in Jerusalem. Among the projects he has designed in Jerusalem are Yad Vashem and the Alrov Mamilla Quarter, which includes the Mamilla Mall, David's Village luxury condominiums, and the 5-star Mamilla Hotel. In 1978, after teaching at McGill, Ben Gurion, and Yale universities, Safdie moved his main office to Boston and became director of the Urban Design Program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, until 1984. From 1984 to 1989, he was the Ian Woodner Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Harvard. Since the early 1990s, Safdie, a citizen of Canada, Israel, and the United States, has focused on his architectural practice, Safdie Architects, which is based in Somerville, Massachusetts, and has branches in Toronto, Jerusalem, and Singapore.

Safdie has designed six of Canada's principal public institutions--including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, and Vancouver Library Square--as well as many other notable projects around the world, including the Salt Lake City Main Public Library; the Khalsa Heritage Centre in Punjab, India; the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort in Singapore; the United States Institute of Peace Headquarters 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.

Architectural style

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Raffles City, Chongqing, China

Moshe Safdie's works are known for their dramatic curves, arrays of geometric patterns, use of windows, and key placement of open and green spaces. His writings and designs stress the need to create meaningful, vital, and inclusive spaces that enhance community, with special attention to the essence of a particular locale, geography, and culture.

He is a self-described modernist.

Awards and recognition

In November 2011, Punjab Chief Minister honoured Safdie at the inauguration ceremony of the Khalsa Heritage Museum. He said Safdie had studied the Sikh religion for two years before designing the museum. Safdie said he wanted the museum to look 300 years old and he thought he had succeeded in this objective.[]

Selected projects

Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum, Jerusalem, 2005
Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore, 2019


Published works

  • Beyond Habitat (1970)
  • For Everyone A Garden (1974)
  • Form & Purpose (1982)
  • Beyond Habitat by 20 Years (1987)
  • Jerusalem: The Future of the Past (1989)
  • The City After the Automobile: An Architect's Vision (1998)[14]
  • Yad Vashem - The Architecture of Memory (2006)[15]

See also



  1. ^ Dvir, Noam (2012-02-03). "Israeli Architecture With Eastern Promise". Haaretz. Retrieved .
  2. ^ Moshe Safdie to receive the 2015 AIA Gold Medal 10 Dec 2014
  3. ^ Master Builder Haaretz. 18 January 2007
  4. ^ Kaufman, Joanne. "Deconstructing Architecture". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved .
  5. ^ "HOME". Safdie Rabines Architects. Retrieved .
  7. ^ Pound, Richard W. (2005). 'Fitzhenry and Whiteside Book of Canadian Facts and Dates'. Fitzhenry and Whiteside.
  8. ^ Wolf Prize 2019 - Jerusalem Post
  9. ^ "The Fantastic Seven | Technion - Israel Institute of Technology". Retrieved .
  10. ^ "Robina New Town and Hotel-Casino Complex". McGill University Library. Retrieved 2019.
  11. ^ Peabody Essex Museum Archived 2008-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "moshe safdie designs fractal-based sky habitat for singapore". designboom. Retrieved .
  14. ^ The City After The Automobile: An Architect's Vision. Westview Press. 1998-10-09. ISBN 9780813335452.
  15. ^ Safdie, Moshe (2006-10-20). Yad Vashem: MOSHE SAFDIE-The Architecture of Memory (1 ed.). Lars Müller Publishers. ISBN 9783037780701.

Further reading

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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