Habitat 67 Location: Montreal, Canada • Architect: Moshe Safdie • Built: 1967 • Units: 158 one- to four-bedroom units • Notable: Moshe Safdie “industrialized” the project’s building process by constructing the units in factories and delivering them prefabricated to the site. The units were then lifted by crane and set in place, giving the property its distinct, randomly stacked look.
Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67 is the apotheosis of the 20th century’s romance with ‘industrialized’ housing. It’s born of the ideal of megastructures—once you provide the structural/mechanical armature, all you have to do is plug in your little private pre-fabricated unit. Forty-two years later, this housing is still visually fresh, ebullient, and surprisingly timeless. The architect was committed to creating an indoor/outdoor life for the inhabitants—even in a climate where long winters make year-long use of the huge balconies unlikely. Their functional value is that you are still intimately connected to the outdoors. It reminds us that the architect’s notion, ‘for everyone a garden,’ is really critical in creating lasting, valuable housing.
—Michael B. Lehrer, principal, Lehrer Architect, Los Angeles