On my most recent trip to Montreal, I got to spend a little time touring the city in hopes of seeing the sights, grabbing some food from Impasto (definitely recommend eating there), and of course taking some leisure/ travel photographs to satisfy the craving and to keep shooting.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Habitat 67 for the first time. Initially, I wasn’t sure what I was looking at but I knew it was an amazing piece of Architecture and was so thankful that I had my camera with me and for the nice blue sky that day. As it turns out, Habitat 67 is an architectural masterpiece and a residential apartment community that sits on the St. Lawrence River in Montreal, Quebec.
Habitat 67 was constructed by celebrated architect Mr. Moshe Safdie. It was built in 1967 for the World Expo that took place in Montreal. Mr. Safdie was only 25 at the time and still a student at McGill University but that didn’t stop the local government from commissioning the one of a kind architectural feat that started off as his thesis on “how to re-invent the apartment building” and is only now being seen and duplicated some 50 plus years later, on a grand scale.
Habitat 67 is comprised of 354 cubes and 146 individual residences with some being larger than others and having different views and layouts. One of the goals of Habitat 67 was to bring the appeal of the suburbs to the people that lived in the city, in public housing, and in high-rise apartment buildings. In doing so he made sure each resident of habitat 67 had their own green space, gardens, walkways, also with these features there is no need to move away to the suburbs. This was also seen as a way to enhance the quality of life and eliminate the hate that people often possess in regards to living in typical cookie cutter high-rise buildings.
Habitat 67 considered brutalist architecture because of the era that it was constructed, 1951-1975, utilitarian or function over aesthetic, and also because of the raw materials like the concrete materials used during construction of residences. However, Mr. Moshe Sofdie may beg to differ, in that his work was not only ahead of its time it is “highly -sophisticated, has a machine smoothed like surface, and is pure geometry.” In fact, it was his reaction to the brutalist concept.
So sad for me, I did not get to take a tour inside any of the units but I was able to find a few restorations and remodels online. Maybe on my next trip to Montreal a guided tour can be arranged, who knows… wink wink!
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