Moshe Safdie Donates Archive to McGill University

John Hill
28. August 2022
Model of Habitat 67 from the exhibition Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie at the National Academy Museum in New York City in 2016. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)

As reported last week by the CBC, the substantial donation consists of more than 100,000 pieces and also includes "his thesis that led to the Habitat 67 apartment complex, and his own personal unit in the building." Located on the Cité du Havre peninsula in the St. Lawrence River and overlooking Old Montreal, Habitat 67 was a reworking of Safdie's 1961 thesis project at McGill, made for Expo 67 as a modular housing project built from prefabricated concrete units. The archive going to McGill includes the master copy of Safdie's thesis. As quoted at CBC, the school said the unit in the building owned by Safdie will serve "as a resource for scholarly research, artist-in-residence programs, exhibitions and symposia."

Model of Habitat II, an unbuilt proposal for New York City, 1968. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)

The materials that Safdie is donating will actually grow his existing archive already at McGill, which was established in 1994 and covers the first 25 years of his career, according to the Montreal Gazette. That archive, accessible via a standalone website, is billed as the "largest of the 75 fonds of major Canadian architects administered by the" Canadian Architecture Collection (CAC) at McGill University.

The news of Safdie's expansion of his archive at McGill recalls other donations in recent years, including the archives of Paulo Mendes da Rocha (to Casa da Arquitectura), Frank Gehry (acquired by Getty Research Institute), and Álvaro Siza (to CCA, Fundação Gulbenkian, and Fundação de Serralves).

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