Moshe Safdie

Moshe Safdie

Moshe Safdie
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An Intelligent Life

Moshe Safdie is an architect, urban planner, educator, theorist, and author. His contributions to architecture, and his lifelong engagement with the cultural significance of architecture, are acknowledged around the world.

Vancouver Public Library / Timothy Hursley
Moshe Safdie

Safdie studied architecture at McGill University in Montreal, and his thesis became the basis of Habitat ’67, a landmark housing complex that was the first expression of his ideals for urban living. Safdie went on to found an international architectural practice and has designed some of Canada’s most exceptional public buildings, including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and the Musée de la civilisation in Quebec City.

Habitat ’67 / Safdie Architects
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Great Gulf invited Moshe Safdie to design a new mixed-use building - called Monde - as part of the revitalization of Toronto’s East Bayfront. Safdie Architects’ design philosophy, with its emphasis on humane and responsible architecture, made them the ideal choice for the project.

Moshe Safdie

“Is there right or wrong in architecture? Many artists would say, ‘There’s full freedom in the arts. It’s an expressive process, and there’s no right or wrong. It’s a subjective choice.’ I don’t think that’s true of architecture. I don’t think architecture can be truly and only subjective, but rather it must meet some greater measure: how does it serve the people that it’s built for?”

National Gallery of Canada / NGC Photo Services, Robert Fillion
Moshe Safdie

“Architecture has an extraordinary impact on our lives, because it has the power to affect how we live, how we work, and how we function. There is extraordinary responsibility that comes with it. I am not suggesting that there is one solution to each question. There are many solutions, many answers, many designs, but each of them needs to be evaluated in terms of its impact on the people who live in it. This means that the foundation of architectural thinking has to be essentially a humane consideration, a consideration of architecture’s impact on people and the quality of their lives.”

Habitat ’67 / Safdie Architects
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“An architect must be conscious of resources. Architecture is material. It’s about building with materials, expressing them. Today, however, we must go beyond architecture’s materiality – we must be concerned with energy and the renewability of resources. In short, sustainability—it’s about responsible architecture.”

National Gallery of Canada / Timothy Hursley
Moshe Safdie

“You can’t say, ‘I want to make something timeless’ any more than you can say, ‘I want to make something beautiful.’ If you just say, ‘I want to make it beautiful,’ where do you start? But if you try to make it wholesome, meet its purpose, use materials in an effective way, then somehow I believe that all this leads to something that’s beautiful.”

National Gallery of Canada / Timothy Hursley
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“So if you design housing, the fundamental question is about what affects people’s lives—light, views, privacy, identity, and wellbeing, whether in a house or an apartment.”

Habitat ’67 / Timothy Hursley
Moshe Safdie

Monde means "World"

In designing Monde, Safdie Architects responded to the essence of its place in the world: lake, sky, waterfront, city. The result is harmony of stone, masonry, and glass, with an innovative stepped tower that gives expansive views of both lake and city.

Moshe Safdie

East Bayfront is the first new neighbourhood in the revitalization of Toronto’s eastern waterfront. Sustainability is one of Monde’s guiding criteria.

  • LEED Gold certification
  • low emission building materials
  • high-performance curtain wall window system
  • green rooftops
  • rainwater harvesting
  • access to transit, bike paths, and pedestrian walkways
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Safdie’s architectural vision is woven into Monde’s detail: the sustainable materials and infrastructure; the inventiveness of the alternating balconies; the variation of white and clear glass; the rooftop gardens; the atrium and arcade. Intelligent… and humane.