Moshe Safdie: Israeli-Canadian architect (1938-) | Biography
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Moshe Safdie
Israeli-Canadian architect

Moshe Safdie

Moshe Safdie
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Israeli-Canadian architect
Is Architect Urban planner Author Professor Educator
From Canada Israel United States of America
Field Academia Engineering Literature Social science
Gender male
Birth 14 July 1938, Haifa, Israel
Age 85 years
Star sign Cancer
McGill University
Notable Works
Habitat 67  
National Gallery of Canada  
Musée de la civilisation  
Companion of the Order of Canada  
Officer of the National Order of Quebec 2017
Wolf Prize in Architecture 2019
Companion of the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec 2016
Fellow of the American Institute of Architects  
AIA Gold Medal 2015
honorary doctorate at the Laval University 1988
Moshe Safdie
The details (from wikipedia)


Moshe Safdie CC FAIA FRAIC (Hebrew: משה ספדיה‎; 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.

Personal life and education

Safdie was born in Haifa in the British Mandate of Palestine (now Israel), to Sephardic Jewish family of Syrian-Jewish and Lebanese-Jewish descent. 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. His son Oren Safdie is a playwright who has written several plays about architecture. and his daughter Taal is an architect in San Diego, a partner of the firm Safdie Rabines Architects. 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, 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.

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

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

  • Gold Medal, American Institute of Architects
  • Companion of the Order of Canada
  • Gold Medal, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
  • Richard Neutra Award for Professional Excellence
  • Mt. Scopus Award for Humanitarianism, Jerusalem
  • Wolf Prize in Arts (Architecture), 2019
  • Honorary Doctorate, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, 2019

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
  • 1967 Habitat 67 at Expo 67 World's Fair, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • 1980-1982 Urban planning and tourist/recreational centre, Robina, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
  • 1981 Coldspring New Town, Baltimore, Maryland, US
  • 1984 International Monetary Fund Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
  • 1987 Musée de la Civilisation, Quebec City, Canada
  • 1988 The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 1988 Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem, Israel
  • 1989 City plan for Modi'in, Israel
  • 1989 The Esplanade condominium complex in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US
  • 1991 The Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • 1992 The Class of 1959 Chapel, Harvard Business School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, US
  • 1993 Mamilla Centre and David's Village, Jerusalem, Israel
  • 1994 Former Ottawa City Hall, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 1995 Vancouver Library Square, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 1995 The Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 2000 The Exploration Place Science Museum in Wichita, Kansas, US
  • 2002 The campus of Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts, US
  • 2003 Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, US
  • 2003 Main Branch of the Salt Lake City Public Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, US
  • 2003 Eleanor Roosevelt College campus, University of California San Diego, US
  • 2003 Pantages Tower, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2003 Corrour Lodge, Inverness-shire, Scotland
  • 2004 Airside building of Terminal 3, Ben Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 2005 Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; the Children's Memorial and Deportees (cattle-car) Memorial are also Safdie designs
  • 2006 Telfair Museum of Art, Jepson Center for the Arts, Savannah, Georgia, US
  • 2007 Terminal 1, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, (with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill)
  • 2008 United States Federal Courthouse, District of Massachusetts, Springfield, Massachusetts, US
  • 2008 Headquarters for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Washington, D.C., US
  • 2009 Asian University for Women, Chittagong, Bangladesh
  • 2009 Mamilla Center, Jerusalem, Israel
  • 2010 Yitzhak Rabin Center, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 2010 Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
  • 2011 United States Institute of Peace Headquarters, Washington, D.C., US
  • 2011 Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Missouri, US
  • 2011 Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, US
  • 2011 Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex (Virasat-e-Khalsa), Anandpur Sahib, Punjab, India
  • 2013 Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, California, US
  • 2012 Sky Habitat, Singapore
  • 2012 Schottenstein campus of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem, Israel
  • 2013 Altair Towers, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • 2019 Raffles City Chongqing, China
  • 2019 Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore
  • 2019 Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Israel

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)
  • Yad Vashem - The Architecture of Memory (2006)
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 03 Jun 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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