Designing for dignity
Moshe Safdie's success doesn't distract from his desire to create habitats that fit cities – and honor the individual.
It may be the Chinese Year of the Rabbit, but 2011 is a bullish year for world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, whose audacious creations are more jaw-dropping than flop-eared. His stunning resort, Marina Bay Sands, is already inspiring gasps in Singapore, while the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo., and the United States Institute of Peace headquarters in Washington, D.C., are slated to open in September. A huge, multipavilioned Sikh museum, the Khalsa Heritage Center, debuts this fall in Punjab, India, and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opens its doors in Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 11.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Moshe Safdie: Architecture designed for dignity
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Ever since his master's thesis was realized as Habitat 67 – a pioneering model of humane urban housing – at the Montreal World's Fair (officially known as Expo 67), Mr. Safdie has been at the forefront of innovative design. With 75 major buildings and master plans to his credit during a 44-year career, he's still shaping our habitats in exploding metropolises like Beijing, Mumbai, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The year 2011 "is a peak of sorts," Safdie admits, saying he's "superexcited at an amazing confluence of things" – projects opening all over the world, some of which took 10 to 12 years' gestation.
Homage is also pouring in. The exhibition "Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie" was a hit at the National Gallery of Canada earlier this year in Ottawa. (It opens at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles in 2012 and later at Crystal Bridges.) Donald Albrecht, curator of architecture and design at the Museum of the City of New York, chose the exhibition's title because, he says, "Safdie is himself a global citizen [holding triple citizenship in Israel, Canada, and the US], and he really has a huge, global practice."