Moshe Safdie

Moshe Safdie CC FAIA FRAIC (Hebrew: משה ספדיה‎; born July 14, 1938) is an Israeli-Canadian architect, urban designer, educator, theorist, and author. He is most identified with designing Marina Bay Sands and Jewel Changi Airport, as well as his debut project Habitat 67, which was originally conceived as his Master's thesis while studying at McGill University and paved the way for his international career.[1][2]

Moshe Safdie
Moshe Safdie.jpg
Born (1938-07-14) July 14, 1938 (age 82)
NationalityIsraeli, Canadian
Alma materMcGill School of Architecture
AwardsAIA Gold Medal
Order of Canada
Gold Medal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
Wolf Prize
PracticeSafdie Architects
BuildingsHabitat 67
Asian University for Women
Marina Bay Sands
National Gallery of Canada
Yad Vashem
Jewel Changi Airport
Raffles City Chongqing
ProjectsAlrov Mamilla Quarter

Personal life and educationEdit

Safdie was born in Haifa in the British Mandate of Palestine (now Israel), to Sephardic Jewish family of Syrian-Jewish and Lebanese-Jewish descent. In 1954, his family moved to Montreal, Quebec and in 1959, Safdie married Nina Nusynowicz, a Polish-Israeli, with whom he has two children, a daughter and son.[3] His son Oren Safdie is a playwright who has written several plays about architecture.[4] and his daughter Taal is an architect in San Diego, a partner of the firm Safdie Rabines Architects.[5]

In 1961, Safdie received his master's degree in Architecture from the McGill University School of Architecture.


After apprenticing with Louis Kahn in Philadelphia, Safdie returned to Montreal to oversee the master plan for Expo 67. In 1964, he established his own firm to undertake Habitat 67, an adaptation of his McGill thesis. Habitat 67, which pioneered the design and implementation of three-dimensional, prefabricated units for living, was a central feature of Expo 67 and an important development in architectural history. He was awarded the 1967 Construction Man of the Year Award from the Engineering News Record and the Massey Medal for Architecture in Canada for Habitat 67.[6]

Habitat 67

In 1970, Safdie opened a branch office in Jerusalem. Among the projects he has designed in Jerusalem are Yad Vashem and the Alrov Mamilla Quarter, which includes the Mamilla Mall, David's Village luxury condominiums, and the 5-star Mamilla Hotel. In 1978, after teaching at McGill, Ben Gurion, and Yale universities, Safdie moved his main office to Boston and became director of the Urban Design Program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, until 1984. From 1984 to 1989, he was the Ian Woodner Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Harvard. Since the early-1990s, Safdie, a citizen of Canada, Israel, and the United States, has focused on his architectural practice, Safdie Architects, which is based in Somerville, Massachusetts, and has branches in Toronto, Jerusalem, and Singapore.

Safdie has designed six of Canada's principal public institutions—including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, and Vancouver Library Square—as well as many other notable projects around the world, including the Salt Lake City Main Public Library; the Khalsa Heritage Centre in Punjab, India; the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort in Singapore; the United States Institute of Peace Headquarters in Washington, DC; the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri; and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas; as well as his latest achievement Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore.


Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Raffles City, Chongqing, China

Moshe Safdie's works are known for their dramatic curves, arrays of geometric patterns, use of windows, and key placement of open and green spaces. His writings and designs stress the need to create meaningful, vital, and inclusive spaces that enhance community, with special attention to the essence of a particular locale, geography, and culture. He is a self-described modernist.

Awards and recognitionEdit

In November 2011, Punjab Chief Minister honoured Safdie at the inauguration ceremony of the Khalsa Heritage Museum. He said Safdie had studied the Sikh religion for two years before designing the museum. Safdie said he wanted the museum to look 300 years old and he thought he had succeeded in this objective.[citation needed]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1981, Safdie married Michal Ronnen, a Jerusalem-born photographer[9], with whom he has two daughters, Carmelle and Yasmin. Carmelle Safdie is an artist, and Yasmin Safdie is a social worker. He is the uncle of Dov Charney, founder and former CEO of American Apparel. He is the great-uncle of the Safdie brothers, the filmmakers behind the 2017 film Good Time and the 2019 film Uncut Gems.

Selected projectsEdit

Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum, Jerusalem, 2005
Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore, 2019


Published worksEdit

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Dvir, Noam (2012-02-03). "Israeli Architecture With Eastern Promise". Haaretz. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  2. ^ Moshe Safdie to receive the 2015 AIA Gold Medal 10 Dec 2014
  3. ^ Master Builder Haaretz. 18 January 2007
  4. ^ Kaufman, Joanne. "Deconstructing Architecture". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  5. ^ "HOME". Safdie Rabines Architects. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  6. ^ Pound, Richard W. (2005). 'Fitzhenry and Whiteside Book of Canadian Facts and Dates'. Fitzhenry and Whiteside.
  7. ^ Wolf Prize 2019 - Jerusalem Post
  8. ^ "The Fantastic Seven | Technion - Israel Institute of Technology". Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  10. ^ "Robina New Town and Hotel-Casino Complex". McGill University Library. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  11. ^ Peabody Essex Museum Archived 2008-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2011-07-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "moshe safdie designs fractal-based sky habitat for singapore". designboom. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  14. ^ Safdie, Moshe (February 15, 1973). Beyond Habitat. The MIT Press; New Ed Edition. ISBN 978-0262690362.
  15. ^ The City After The Automobile: An Architect's Vision. Westview Press. 1998-10-09. ISBN 9780813335452.
  16. ^ Safdie, Moshe (2006-10-20). Yad Vashem: MOSHE SAFDIE-The Architecture of Memory (1 ed.). Lars Müller Publishers. ISBN 9783037780701.

Further reading

External linksEdit