Case Study: Habitat 67

Moshe Safdie
Montreal, Canada 1967
Spring 2013, RPI

This project demonstrates that a single primitive shape can be strategically accumulated and organized to create a dynamic set of unique private spaces while simultaneously allowing for circulation and social public spaces.

Habitat 67 is formed using approximately 20x40x10 ft concrete rectilinear volumes, which are oriented and connected in specific ways to create varied apartments. At the time of construction, these boxes were an experiment and ultimately a breakthrough in prefabricated concrete. For this reason, all the boxes were uniformly mass produced, creating the challenge of designing unique spaces with a single form. Safde took on the further challenge of giving each apartment a mini-paradise feeling through terraces and outdoor access. The arrangements of the boxes was key to the realization of this goal because they directed the circulation of each apartment. The organization of the blocks creates circulation and private exterior spaces in a densely urban context.