Moshe Safdie

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Moshe Safdie
Moshe Safdie.jpg
Born (1938-07-14) July 14, 1938 (age 81)
Nationality Israeli, Canadian
Alma mater McGill University 1961
Occupation Architect
Awards AIA Gold Medal
Order of Canada
Gold Medal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
Practice Safdie Architects
Buildings Habitat 67
Asian University for Women
Marina Bay Sands
National Gallery of Canada
Yad Vashem
Jewel Changi Airport
Projects Alrov Mamilla Quarter

Moshe Safdie, CC, FAIA (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 his debut project Habitat 67, which paved the way for his international career.[1][2]

Early and personal life

Safdie was born in Haifa in then British Mandate of Palestine (now Israel), to a Syrian-Jewish family. His family moved to Montreal, Canada, in 1954. In 1959, Safdie married Nina Nusynowicz, a Polish-born Israeli.[3] The couple had two children, a daughter and a son. His son Oren Safdie is a playwright who has written several plays about architecture including Private Jokes, Public Places.[4] His daughter Taal is an architect in San Diego, a partner of the firm Safdie Rabines Architects.[5] He is related to the Safdie brothers.

In 1961, Safdie graduated from McGill University with a degree in 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. Safdie is the uncle of Dov Charney, founder and former CEO of American Apparel.

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

  • 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 [8]
  • Honorary Doctorate, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, 2019[9]

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.[citation needed]

Selected projects

Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum, Jerusalem, 2005
Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex, Anandpur Sahib, India, 2011


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 2016-04-04.
  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 2016-04-04.
  5. ^ "HOME". Safdie Rabines Architects. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  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 2019-07-25.
  10. ^ "Robina New Town and Hotel-Casino Complex". McGill University Library. Retrieved 17 December 2019. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  11. ^ Peabody Essex Museum Archived 2008-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2011-07-08. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "moshe safdie designs fractal-based sky habitat for singapore". designboom. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  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

  • Moshe Safdie Volume I (1st edition 1996/2nd edition 2009) Goldberger, Paul; Sorkin, Michael; Rowe, Peter G.; Rybczynski, Witold; Sadfie, Moshe (2009-04-15). Moshe Safdie. Images Publishing Dist Ac. ISBN 9781864701623.
  • Moshe Safdie Volume II (2009) Group, Images Publishing (2009-04-15). Moshe Safdie. Images Publishing Dist Ac. ISBN 9781864701630.
  • Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie (2010)
  • Peace Building: The Mission, Work, and Architecture of the United States Institute of Peace (2011) Peace Building: The Mission, Work, and Architecture of the United States Institute of Peace. Washington, D.C.: n/a. 2011-01-01. ISBN 9781601270887.
  • Reaching for the Sky: The Marina Bay Sands Singapore (2013) Safdie, Moshe (2013-09-01). Reaching for the Sky: The Making of Marina Bay Sands (1 ed.). ORO Editions. ISBN 9780981985763.
  • Safdie (2014) Safdie. Images Publishing Dist Ac. 2014-12-22. ISBN 9781864705591.

External links

  • The Safdie Hypermedia Archive-- McGill Univ.
  • Safdie Architects
  • Historic Places in Canada
  • CBC Digital archives-- "Moshe Safdie: Hero of Habitat"
  • Moshe Safdie at the TED (conference), 2002
  • Fallout Zvi Elhyani, Maayan Magazine, 2005
  • Power People: Moshe Safdie Zvi Elhyani, Volume, 2005
  • Salt Lake City Library on ARCHUtah
  • Interview on Charlie Rose August 23, 2011
  • Kauffmann Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, MO
  • "The Architecture of Moshe Safdie: A Man of the World" CBS News
  • Moshe Safdie 's list of projects
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