Moshe Safdie reworks his old brutalist apartment

The Israeli-Canadian architect's firm has gone back to Habitat 67 to rework its founder’s old brutalist unit
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The newly refurbished unit at Habitat 67. Photograph by Marc Cramer & Thomas Miau
The newly refurbished unit at Habitat 67. Photograph by Marc Cramer & Thomas Miau

When the Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie designed Habitat 67, he envisioned a building that could overcome some of the problems of big city housing.

 

The newly refurbished unit at Habitat 67. Photograph by Marc Cramer & Thomas Miau
The newly refurbished unit at Habitat 67. Photograph by Marc Cramer & Thomas Miau

“It was to offer the advantages of both apartment living and single-family housing within a high-density environment and avoid the monotony of conventional housing developments,” explains our new Atlas of Brutalist Architecture. “The staggered form increases distances between the dwellings to enhance privacy and provide an open terrace for each dwelling.”

 

The newly refurbished unit at Habitat 67. Photograph by Marc Cramer & Thomas Miau
The newly refurbished unit at Habitat 67. Photograph by Marc Cramer & Thomas Miau

Of course, this brutalist concrete development, built as part of the 1967 International Exposition, right on the quay jutting into the St Lawrence River in Montreal, Canada, has since developed a few problems of its own.

 

The newly refurbished unit at Habitat 67. Photograph by Marc Cramer & Thomas Miau
The newly refurbished unit at Habitat 67. Photograph by Marc Cramer & Thomas Miau

So, Safdie Architects have revisited the building, refurbing the architect’s own unit, a 10th floor duplex, which originally belonged to the commissioner of the ’67 Expo. Working with local practitioners and contractors, Safdie Architects have completely overhauled the unit as these new photos by Marc Cramer and Thomas Miau show.

 

The newly refurbished unit at Habitat 67. Photograph by Marc Cramer & Thomas Miau
The newly refurbished unit at Habitat 67. Photograph by Marc Cramer & Thomas Miau

The practice has fitted out new energy-efficient windows, new terrace railings, and new parquet floors, while a local boat builder helped create the apartment’s fiberglass bathroom.

 

The newly refurbished unit at Habitat 67. Photograph by Marc Cramer & Thomas Miau
The newly refurbished unit at Habitat 67. Photograph by Marc Cramer & Thomas Miau

These upgrades certainly add a bit of comfort to this brutalist building. And, thankfully, they’re comforts that we can all share, as this newly refurbished unit will be donated to the public realm, to serve as a resource for scholarly research and public tours.

 

Atlas of Brutalist Architecture

Planning a trip? Find out more about both Habitat 67 and many other brutalist buildings from around the world in our new Atlas of Brutalist Architecture. Buy a copy here.


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