Habitat 67

Christine St-Pierre, Minister of Culture, Communications and the Status of Women, announced the classification of Habitat 67 as a historic monument. Units 1011 and 1012, which are owned by architect and designer Moshe Safdie, were also classified. Mr. Safdie was present at the announcement.

“Habitat 67 was showered with praise from the day it was created. Specialists and the uninitiated alike were won over by its original, bold design, which showcased construction techniques unheard of at the time,” said St-Pierre. “I am very proud to announce the classification of this unique architecture. It is a fine example of modern heritage and will henceforth be classified under the Cultural Property Act.”

“I am very moved and honored that Habitat 67 has been classified as a historic monument,” stated Mr. Safdie, “the greatest pleasure for an architect is to see the creation alive, as a thriving community, 42 years later.” This project was completed as part of the EXPO ’67 World Fair in Montreal, QC.

Moshe Safdie
Moshe Safdie was born in Haifa, Israel, in 1938. He later moved to Canada with his family, graduating from McGill University in 1961 with a degree in architecture. After apprenticing with Louis I. Kahn in Philadelphia, he returned to Montreal, taking charge of the master plan for the 1967 World Exhibition, where he also realized an adaptation of his thesis as Habitat '67, the central feature of the World's Fair.

The Project
Habitat 67 began life as a master’s thesis project prepared in 1961 by Mr. Safdie, then an architecture student at McGill University. He came up with the idea of a high density apartment building that would provide residents with privacy as well as peace and quiet. He was invited to develop his idea for Expo 67 and did so alongside engineer August E. Komendant. By the time the universal exhibition came round, the project was partially completed, and 26 apartments were reserved for the Expo.

The housing complex had 354 prefabricated units, initially forming 158 one or two story apartments with one to four bedrooms. The apartments were divided into three pryamids. Each apartment featured a landscaped garden built on the roof of the level below (see www.habitat67.com for more information). Dwellings had a molded plastic bathroom and a modular kitchen that are still incredibly modern even by today’s standards.

Habitat 67 pioneered the design and implementation of three-dimensional prefabricated units of habitation. Stepped back in their modular placement, each residence has its own roof garden. Three separate elevator cores direct vertical circulation throughout the complex, with cabs stopping at every fourth floor to serve pedestrian streets. Every part of the building, including units, pedestrian streets and elevator cores, participate as load-bearing members; units are connected to each other by post-tensioning, high tension rods, cables and welding, forming a continuous suspension system.

158 residences are located within the structure.
354 house units
18 street girders
6 cantilever girders
7 stair shafts
6 elevator shafts
24 precast columns
4 walkway bridges

Modular units are load-bearing and erected one on top of another, carrying most of the load through walls and piers. House units are connected by bolting and post-tensioning. 3 m high horizontal streets carry mechanical services within and pedestrians above. Vertical elevator and stair cores transmit lateral loads to the foundations.

The precast was manufactured in a plant set up at the jobsite

Foundations

Erection

Modular units are load-bearing and erected one on top of another, carrying most of the load through walls and piers. House units are connected by bolting and post-tensioning. 3 m high horizontal streets carry mechanical services within and pedestrians above. Vertical elevator and stair cores transmit lateral loads to the foundations.

Modular boxes are 11.7 m x 5.3 m x 3 m and weigh from 70 to 90 tons.
Bathrooms, kitchens, etc. are pre-made and installed into the boxes before the roof is connected.
Each house has at least one outdoor terrace, formed by the roof of the dwelling below.

Construction
4,000 tons reinforcing steel
26,000 cu. yd. concrete
145,600 ft prestressing steel
6,400 psi average concrete strength (45 MPa)

Two storey apartments with 1-4 bedrooms

Architect: Moshe Safdie and David, Barott, Boulva
Structural Engineer: Dr. August E. Komendant and Monti, Lavoie, Nadon
Mechanical Engineer: Huza & Thibault
Electrical Engineer: Nicholas Fodor & Associates
General Contractor: Anglin-Norcross
Precast Concrete: Francon (1966) Ltd.
Project cost: $13.5 million

Reference
Habitat ’67 - Towards the Development of a Building System, Moshe Safdie PCI Journal, February 1967

 
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