Habitat '67: The Shape of Things to Come

This summer, the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) Centre de Design will host The Shape of Things to Come, a special exhibition examining architect Moshe Safdie's pioneering urban housing complex Habitat '67, its manifestation over the course of Safdie's global career, and its lasting influence on the architectural field at large.

A Canadian National Heritage Site and living landmark, Habitat '67 evolved from Safdie's thesis project at McGill University and was commissioned by the Canadian government, the province of Quebec, and the city of Montreal as a major, living exhibition for the 1967 World's Exposition. From the moment it opened, Habitat '67 captured the international public imagination and has become an enduring icon of Expo '67 and Canadian pride. It remains to this day a source of inspiration for architecture devoted to humanistic ideals.

On view from June 1 through August 13, the exhibition traces the trajectory of Safdie's work from its origins to the present, demonstrating how Safdie has consistently applied the design principles and ideologies he introduced as part of Habitat '67 to every project since that time. As part of the opening of the exhibition, the University will host a free Moshe Safdie lecture May 31, 2017, 5:30 pm, at the Salle Pierre-Mercure of Centre Pierre-Péladeau.

Jointly organized by Safdie Architects and UQAM's Centre de Design with curatorial direction from independent curator Donald Albrecht, the exhibition opens with archival images and objects from the project's origins with conceptual drawings, models, bringing them together with plans for unbuilt iterations of Habitat that Safdie designed soon after for New York, Puerto Rico, and Israel. "Moshe Safdie's career has traced a remarkable trajectory in the canon of modern architecture," stated Albrecht, "from his famous Habitat '67 to projects he designed in its immediate wake, which this exhibition sheds new light on, to twenty-first-century reimaginings of Habitat '67 that address Safdie's career-long commitment to a dense, yet humane, urbanism."

The exhibition continues with the presentation of "Habitat for the Future," a series of models and renderings developed by a team of architects involved in a two-year research fellowship working with Moshe Safdie and principals from Safdie Architects revisiting and reimagining how one might approach building Habitat in current times. Many of the prototypes that emerged from the fellowship have catalyzed creative solutions to today's increasingly complex building challenges, and are materializing through Safdie's current global housing and mixed-use projects.

The exhibition culminates with models and photographs from several recent projects around the world, many of which will make their public debut at UQAM Centre de Design. Admission to the exhibition will be free, with visiting hours Wednesday through Sunday, between noon and 6pm.