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Paradise, Lost and Found

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Paradise, Lost and Found Paradise, Lost and Found

Paradise, Lost and Found

Of all the 2017 anniversaries ? Canada at 150, Montreal at 375, Expo ?67 at 50 ? one building is common to these occasions for civic pride. The artful stacks of pre-fabricated concrete capsules along Montreal?s waterfront have gripped our collective architectural imagination since they first became an instant icon five decades ago. But why"
For many, Habitat 67 captures a moment of confidence when Montreal met the eyes of the world with a vision for a new way of living in cities. The radical government-sponsored experiment by a young and then-inexperienced Moshe Safdie, continues to serve as a multi-unit housing complex today.
Moshie Safdie during construction in 1966
It embodies the optimism of the 1960s and entrenches our belief in architecture as a wellspring of innovation. Yet for others, Habitat 67 is a reminder of failed dreams. From the beginning, its overblown budget challenged the promise of economies in its prefabrication. And Montreal?s harsh winters have rendered its concrete façades shappy-looking up close, and in need of constant maintenance. Habitat 67 was designed as a prototype, yet the absence of other iterations in its wake makes its success at best questionable. Perhaps it owes its longevity both on the ground and in the public?s imagination to this paradox, and its 50th anniversary affords us another opportunity to rethink its legacy.
Over much of the year, exhibitions around the city have paid tribute to this grand experiment in urban housing. Habitat 67 vers l?avenir/The Shape of Things to Come at Université du Québec à Montréal Centre de Design has traced Habitat 67?s formative ideas through its design and construction, and into both early and recent projects in Safdie?s now international architectural practice. Sky Habitat in Bishan, Singapore; and Golden Dream Bay in Qinhuangdao, China, for instance, are examples of projects nearing completion that grew out of ?Habitat for the Future,? a research fellowship designed to adapt Habitat 67?s initial objectives to the complexities of a more demanding urban housing market. Poster from the Stewart Museum exhibtion “Expo 67: A World of Dreams”
The origins of these projects are now the stuff of architecture-school legend: after travelling around North America on a scholarship to study affordable housing, Israeli-born Safdie returned to Montreal in the early 1960s to McGill University. He developed his master?s thesis proposal, ?A Three-Dimensional Modular Building System,? in reaction to the soulless urban high-rises and unsustainable sprawl he witnessed firsthand in North America?s urban centres. His fusion of dense apartment block and suburban garden home recalled the Mediterranean villages of his childhood, incorporating common public spaces for residents to come together by breaking up the building?s mass and integrating landscape into their everyday lives. As one of few remaining structures of Expo 67, the ?living exhibition,? as it was then known, continu...
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Paradise, Lost and Found Paradise, Lost and Found


Fuente de la noticia: canadian architect
Fecha de publicación: 11-10-2017 21:54
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