Moshe Safdie's buildings -- from grand libraries to intimate apartment complexes -- explore the qualities of light and the nature of private and public space.
Moshe Safdie's master's thesis quickly became a cult building: his modular "Habitat" apartments for Montreal Expo '67. Within a dizzying pile of concrete, each apartment was carefully sited to have natural light and a tiny, private outdoor space for gardening. These themes have carried forward throughout Safdie's career -- his buildings tend to soak in the light, and to hold cozy, user-friendly spaces inside larger gestures.
He's a triple citizen of Canada, Israel and the United States, three places where the bulk of his buildings can be found: in Canada, the National Gallery in Ottawa, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Vancouver public library. For Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, he designed the Children's Memorial and the Memorial to the Deportees; he's also built airport terminals in Tel Aviv. In the US, he designed the elegant and understated Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Masachusetts, and under construction now is the Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas, set to open in 2010.
“Beauty connotes humanity. We call a natural object beautiful because we see that its form expresses fitness, the perfect fulfillment of function.”
“He who seeks truth shall find beauty. He who seeks beauty shall find vanity. He who seeks order shall find gratification. He who seeks gratification shall be disappointed. He who considers himself the servant of his fellow beings shall find the joy of self-expression. He who seeks self-expression shall fall into the pit of arrogance.”