Expo 67, one of the world’s largest universal expositions was held in Montreal. Within the movement of liberalization and opening to the world characterizing this period, the exposition was entitled “Man and his World” as the title of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s masterpeace. Housing was one of the main themes of Expo 67.
Saint-Exupéry wrote: “We have to make lively this new house that doesn’t have a face yet. The truth for one was to build; it is, for the other, to occupy it.”
Habitat 67 then became a thematic pavilion invaded by thousands of admiring visitors that came from all around the world, on top of being the temporary residence of many dignitaries passing by Montreal.
Habitat 67 was an event in itself at the time. It still is today.
This housing complex became not only the “place where to be” for some 148 singles, couples and families which have made it their main residence, but as well a real community of which the style and the quality of life are envied throughout Canada.
— An experience
Habitat 67 is an experience that was revealed as being a spectacular achievement impacting on the collective imaginary and contributing in a significant way to the feeling of pride of the Montrealers.
It is Moshe Sadie’s discovery, student in architecture at McGill University in the beginning of the 60’s: an urban and three-dimensional housing concept rallying the “single family dwelling” in an adaptable form to density.
Moreover, Habitat 67 is located on an invented peninsula: la “Cité du Havre”.
— A destiny
Habitat 67 still shines with brightness. It is without a doubt one of the only modern utopias that was materialized by becoming a popular success as well as a “prestigious address”.
Its intrinsic genius is indeed praised by both the architectural and the urban planning circles, by the public in general and particularly by its residents.
Moshe Safdie continues to sojourn and to give his advice on the renovation projects of the residents in order to keep the architectural integrity, the security and the serenity of the complex.
The Architectural Concept
— An icon of permanent modernity
The cube is the base, the mean and the finality of Habitat 67. In its material sense, the cube is a symbol of stability. As for its mystic meaning, the cube is symbol of wisdom, truth, moral perfection, at the origin itself of our civilization.
354 cubes of a magnificent grey-beige build up one on the other to form 148 residences nestled between sky and earth, between city and river, between greenery and light.
The whole unites in a gigantic sculpture futuristic interiors, links, pedestrian streets and suspended terraces, aerial spaces, skylights of different angles, large plazas and monumental elevator pillars, without forgetting the openings, here and there, that are as many winks and calls to meditation from the environment as well as from the living experience.
— A world wide scale signature
“Habitat 67 is the amazing accomplishment of Moshe Safdie’s youth. The principal quality of Moshe Safdie’s entire work is to confer to things a character of eternity. He puts emphasis on architecture’s daily life: the way spaces are used, the performance of the building in its climate, the real desires of future residents. In many ways, the essence of his work is a dichotomy: at the same time tearing and meditation between the universal and the specific, between the ideal and the real.
– Wendy Kohn. “Moshe Safdie”, Acadamy Editions, 1996.
— A diversity in uniqueness
Those who choose Habitat 67 as their main residence create their own world to their image, within a complex of a remarkable unity.
The sense of innovation, the charm, the good taste and the diverse countries of origin of the residents are such, that Habitat 67’s interiors and private terraces gladly compete.
Circled by an exceptional environment, Habitat 67 is a community undeniably contemporary, admirable by the fact that singles, families, couples and retired people all meet with the same happiness.
— A kaleidoscope vision
Habitat 67’s architect wanted to offer a “fragment of paradise to everyone”.
Habitat 67’s residences characteristics, which are displayed over 12 floors, can be summarized as the following:
– 15 models varying between 1 and 8 cubes
– Views on 3 sides and landscaped terraces
– Areas from 624 to 5000 square feet, displayed over 1,2,3 or 4 floors
– Private terraces from 225 to 1000 square feet
– Possibility to add a solarium
– 6 elevators
– Sidewalks at various levels giving access to residences
– Central heating and air conditioning
– Excellent soundproofing.
— A territory Even though
Habitat 67’s residents have made it their fortress, they are always happy to welcome new comers to share their attachment and their dedication.
Habitat 67 is built on a peninsula which advances proudly in front of the Old Port of Montreal. Standing on a terrace, you are completely surrounded by the city’s lights, the bridges silhouettes, the sound of the river rapids, the smell of the maple trees, oak and poplar trees, the air of the river and the sky.
— The rhythm
Habitat 67 is the redefinition of everything you expect from an urban residence.
You can live there at the rhythm of the city, of the suburbs, or of the country. And even at the sound of the jazz, of the fireworks, of the birds and of the gigantic water flow. All within a discrete and luxurious frame.
(text from building’s website)