Moshe Safdie graduated from McGill University in 1961 with a degree in architecture. After working as an apprentice to Louis I. Kahn in Philadelphia, he returned to Montreal to take 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.
In 1970, Safdie established a Jerusalem branch office, commencing an intense involvement with the rebuilding of Jerusalem. He was responsible for major segments of the restoration of the Old City and the reconstruction of the new center, linking the Old and New Cities. Over the years, his involvement expanded and included the new city of Modi'in, the new Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, and the Rabin Memorial Center. During this period, Safdie also began commitments in the developing world, working in Senegal, Iran, Singapore, and in the northern Canadian arctic.
In 1978, following teaching at Yale, McGill, and Ben Gurion Universities, Safdie relocated his residence and principal office to Boston, where he became Director of the Urban Design Program and the Ian Woodner Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In the subsequent years, he was responsible for the design of six of Canada's principal public institutions, including the Quebec Museum of Civilization, the National Gallery of Canada, and Vancouver Library Square.
In the past decade, Safdie's major cultural and educational commissions in the U.S. have included: the United States Institute of Peace Headquarters on the Mall in Washington, D.C.; the Skirball Museum and Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA; and Exploration Place in Wichita, KS; educational facilities such as Eleanor Roosevelt College at the University of California in San Diego; civic buildings such as the Springfield, MA, and Mobile, AL, Federal Courthouses; and performing arts centers such as the Kansas City, MO Performing Arts Center. In addition to major works of urbanism, Safdie's current work includes two airports: Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto and Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv.
Building openings include the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia (2006), The Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem (2005), the Lester B. Pearson International Airport (2004), the Ben Gurion International Airport (2004), the Salt Lake City Main Public Library (2003), and the Peabody Essex Museum (2003).
(Photo: Stephecn Kelly)