Moshe Safdie was honored as the Hadassah International Man of Distinction at a Gala in his honor during the 2006 Annual Conference in Jerusalem
Hadassah International’s 2006 Man of Distinction, Moshe Safdie, is renowned for his innovative approach to designing cities and for the vision and ecological sensitivity he displays in his numerous projects across the globe.
His often majestic, visually powerful architectural creations range from the new Yad Vashem Museum complex to the entire Israeli city of Modi’in to Ben Gurion Airport’s new international Terminal 3; from the libraries, hotels, and museums to the courthouse and performing arts centers throughout North America.
Born in Israel and a citizen of both Canada and the United States, Mr. Safdie believes in an environment-centered approach to design so that nature and his architectural creations coexist in harmony. His sensitivity to the environment originates with his hometown of Haifa where buildings and the surrounding ecology are beautifully intertwined.
As the son of an English mother and an Aleppo, Syrian-born father, Safdie is also influenced by his multicultural roots. Safdie’s early triumph, which gained him worldwide attention while still in his twenties, was Habitat ’67 for the Montreal Expo. It incorporated open architectural features of single-family houses into a prefabricated apartment complex.
Mr. Safdie’s vision includes helping the world arrive at peace, one building at a time. Through his redesign of the Mamilla district of Jerusalem, which before 1967 separated East from West Jerusalem, he hopes to help bring together Arabs and Jews who call the city their home.
One of his newest projects is the headquarters of the United States Institute for Peace, which serves as a national center for research, education, training, and program development on preventing international conflicts. The Institute’s goal is to increase public understanding about the causes of international conflict and possible solutions.
Mr. Safdie, whose head office is in Somerville, Massachusetts, USA with branches in Jerusalem and Toronto, Canada, served for many years as director of urban design at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, which gave him a forum to influence future architects. Currently, he oversees a practice-oriented student fellowship program aimed at providing a forum for design exploration that will expand the horizons of architectural design. Fellows spend one year at Moshe Safdie and Associates where they work collaboratively with Mr. Safdie developing and analyzing design proposals that address a particular theme. The 2005-2006 fellowship focuses on “intermodal transportation: rethinking the airport and urban interface terminal.”
Mr. Safdie also shares his architectural expertise and perspective by participating in panel discussions and international conferences, as well as through his many publications, including, Form and Purpose, For Everyone a Garden, and Jerusalem: The Future of the Past. As Mr. Safdie explains, “I don’t believe I have one signature style. …I am reinvented all the time.”