Essential Architecture- Canada

Habitat 67


Moshe Safdie


Montreal Expo, Canada.


1964-67 (S:1967)


Brutalist (reminiscent of a middle eastern village on a hillside)




  general view, photo, M. Brack.
  view form above, photo 1967, R. Ennis.
  view from below, photo 1967, R. Ennis. and close view, photo, M. Brack.
Habitat 67

Habitat 67 from the portHabitat 67 is a housing complex and familiar landmark located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on the Marc-Drouin Quay on the Saint Lawrence River. Its striking design was created by architect Moshe Safdie based on his master's thesis at McGill University and built as part of Expo 67.

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 masterpiece. Housing was one of the main themes of Expo 67. 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.

It was designed to integrate the variety and diversity of scattered private homes with the economics and density of a modern apartment building. Modular, interlocking concrete forms define the space. The project was designed to create affordable housing with close but private quarters, each equipped with a garden. The complex was originally meant to be vastly larger. Ironically, the building's units are now quite expensive rather than "affordable" due to its architectural cachet. It is now a privately owned condominium complex since it was purchased by its tenants in 1985.

Safdie hoped that his vision of interlocking modules would become widespread. However Safdie's attempts to build similar structures elsewhere in the world all failed to be funded.

The complex is located at 2600, Pierre Dupuy Avenue (45°30′00″N 73°32′37″W / 45.5, -73.54361Coordinates: 45°30′00″N 73°32′37″W / 45.5, -73.54361).

In popular culture
The building was featured in the 2007 film Blades of Glory as athlete housing for the WinterSport games.
It served as inspiration for Canadian indie-rockers The Vulcan Dub Squad who recorded an LP The New Designers themed on Habitat 67 and the 40th anniversary of Expo 67. The album contains ambient sounds recorded at Habitat 67.
A copy of the structure can be seen in the Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG episode "Face".
A photo shoot featuring Celine Dion took place at Habitat 67 for the October '07 issue of W Magazine.

Adjacent surf spot
Habitat 67 has lent its name to a standing wave in the rapids adjacent to the complex, which has become a popular destination for river surfing[1][2].