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Architect Moshe Safdie
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Location Montreal, Canada   map
Date 1967   timeline
Building Type multifamily housing
 Construction System stacked modular units
Climate cold temperate
Context urban waterfront
Style Modern
Notes Cubical family of forms composition. hill town look, built with expensive modular forms.


Photo, exterior

Photo, exterior

Photo, exterior


Axonometric Drawing

Plan Drawing

Plan Drawing


Section Drawing


Discussion Habitat '67 Commentary

"Safdie's dwelling complex 'Habitat' was designed to give 'privacy, fresh air, sunlight and suburban amenities in an urban location.' It was designed as a permanent settlement and consists of 158 dwellings, although originally it was intended to provide 1,000 units. The resulting ziggurat was made up of independent prefabricated boxes with fifteen different plan types."

— Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. p281.

"Of the 900 apartments planned for this gigantic building block, 158 were completed. 354 prefabricated individual containers are stacked in a confused order and connected by steel cables. Projections and recesses are organized in such a way that each apartment has a balcony on the roof of the apartment immediately below."

— Peter Gossel and Gabriele Leuthauser. Architecture in the Twentieth Century. p265.

"This extraordinary housing development comprising 158 units of from one to four bedrooms, with many small gardens and decks, was planned as a prototype for a system that would streamline the building process and cut costs. It was assembled from 354 reinforced-concrete building modules, ingeniously stacked so as to give privacy and views to each unit. Unfortunately, construction costs proved to be prohibitive."

— from Sylvia Hart Wright. Sourcebook of Contemporary North American Architecture: From Postwar to Postmodern. p118.

"Habitat is a model community constructed along the St. Lawrence River in Montreal, composed of 354 prefabricated modules which combineto form a three-dimensional space structure. The modules, or 'boxes' as they are known, are connected in varying combinations to create 158residences ranging from 600 ft2 to 1,700 ft2. Pedestrian streets serve as horizontal circulation throughout the entire complex. Habitat '67 wasthe realisation of Moshe Safdie's thesis titled "A Case for City Living, A Study of Three Urban High Density Housing Systems for CommunityDevelopment" and was also the major theme exhibition of the 1967 Montreal World Exposition. "

—from the Moshe Safdie Archives at McGill University, Montreal.

Sources on Habitat '67

Muriel Emanuel, ed. Contemporary Architects. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1980. ISBN 0-312-16635-4. p701.

Kenneth Frampton and Futagawa Yukio. Modern Architecture in Color. New York: The Viking Press, 1971. color photo of exterior, p493, plate 107.

Photo courtesy of Graetz. PCD.2286.1012.0904.078.

Photo courtesy of Timothy Hursley. PCD.2286.1012.0904.090.

Johnson Architectural Images. Copyrighted slides in the Artifice Collection.

Udo Kultermann. Architecture in the 20th Century. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1993. ISBN 0-442-00942-9. LC 92-26734. NA680.K7913 1993. exterior aerial photo of rear of building, f138, p129.

Lawrence A. Martin, University of Oregon. Slide from photographer's collection, September 1993. PCD.3235.1012.0545.008. PCD.3235.1012.0545.009. PCD.3235.1012.0545.010. PCD.3235.1012.0545.015.

Photos courtesy of MSA. PCD.2286.1012.0904.082. PCD.2286.1012.0904.083. PCD.2286.1012.0904.080.

Leland M. Roth. A Concise History of American Architecture. New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1979. ISBN 0-06-430086-2. NA705.R67 1979. discussion, p327-328, exterior photo from distance, f282, p327.

Moshe Safdie. For Everyone a Garden. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1974. plaza level plan, p66. section, p68. plan of one bedroom unit with terrace, p74. plan of three or four bedroom unit, p75. exploded axonometric, p75.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.—



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