Press Release

Global Citizen Premieres in Boston at BSA Space

Event Date: 
16 March 2016

Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie 

March 16–May 22, 2016

Boston (February 1, 2016)—This major retrospective explores the work of international architect and 2015 AIA Gold Medal–winner Moshe Safdie FAIA. Tracing the trajectory of Safdie’s more than 50-year career, Global Citizen investigates Safdie’s evolving design philosophy and pioneering contributions to the field of architecture through a presentation of models, drawings, films, and photography from more than 30 Safdie Architects projects.

The show focuses on pivotal points in the development of Safdie’s design philosophy, “progressive contextualism”—the belief that a building should be an extension of its physical, historical, and cultural environments. Organized into five sections, the exhibition examines Safdie’s formative years as an undergraduate and the launch of his practice in 1964; the establishment of a branch office and work across Jerusalem in the 1970s; a period of major institutional commissions across North America throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s; a more recent phase of diverse commissions in new global centers in India, Singapore, and China; and examples of his firm’s current mega-scale work confronting the challenges of dense urbanism around the world. 

Curated by Donald Albrecht, in coordination with local firm NADAAA and Safdie Architects, the exhibition will include large-scale models of built, unbuilt, and in-process projects from throughout the firm’s history, as well as materials from the recent Habitat of the Future Research Fellowship and a 21st-century reimagining of Habitat ’67, the revolutionary housing complex that launched Safdie’s career. Global Citizen will be on view at BSA Space through May 22, 2016.  

An international architectural and urban planning practice, Safdie Architects is based in Somerville, Massachusetts, with offices in Jerusalem, Toronto, Singapore, and Shanghai. “We are delighted to have Global Citizen exhibited in our hometown of Boston, a city we have called home for the last 36 years,” says Safdie. “We are particularly happy that it is at the BSA where we can share our work across the globe with our Boston colleagues.”

“Throughout his career, Moshe has consistently confronted the challenges of urban life with solutions that create livable spaces, connecting the public to nature and their community,” says exhibition curator Albrecht, who also coauthored the catalog that accompanies the exhibition. “From Habitat ’67 to his current work with skyscrapers around the world, Moshe creates buildings that add to their environment and enhance visitor and residential experience. Global Citizen demonstrates his diverse portfolio of projects that range vastly in size, scope, and purpose, but share his underlying design philosophy that connect the building to its surroundings.”

“I am thrilled to welcome Global Citizen at BSA Space, the first exhibition in a series of shows celebrating seminal firms with roots in Boston,” says 2016 BSA president Tamara Roy AIA. “Safdie’s office has made a lasting impact on our local and regional architectural and civic community, and this exhibition will be a testament to an impressive body of work.”

Notable projects featured in the exhibition include:

§  Habitat ’67, Montreal (1964–67)

§  San Francisco State College Student Union, California (1967–68; unbuilt)

§  Pompidou Centre, Plateau Beaubourg Competition, Paris (1971; unbuilt)

§  Mamilla Center, Jerusalem (1972–2009)

§  Ben Gurion International Airport Airside Terminal, Tel Aviv (1995–2004) 

§  Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum, Jerusalem (1997–2005)

§  National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1983–88)

§  Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts (1996–2003) 

§  Salt Lake City Public Library, Salt Lake City (1999–2003) 

§  United States Institute of Peace Headquarters, Washington, DC (2001–11) 

§  Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas (2005–11)

§  Khalsa Heritage Centre, Anandpur Sahib, Punjab, India (1998–2011)

§  Marina Bay Sands, Singapore (2006–11)

§  Palm Jumeirah Gateway Mosque, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (2008; unbuilt)

§  Habitat of the Future Models Study No. 1: Vertically Stacked Habitat, Study No. 2: Urban Window

§  Habitat, Study No 4: A-Frame Membrane Habitat, Study No. 5: Stacked Membranes 

§    Habitat (2008; unbuilt)

§  National Art Museum of China, Beijing (2012; unbuilt)

§  Bishan Sky Habitat, Singapore (2010–15)

§  Raffles City Chongqing, China (2011–18)

§  Jewel at Changi Airport, Singapore (2012–18)

A press preview and tour of Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie will be held for the media on the morning of Wednesday, March 16, 2016.

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About BSA Space

BSA Space, Boston’s leading cultural institution for architecture and design, is home to the Boston Society of Architects/AIA (BSA) and the BSA Foundation. The BSA is one of the oldest chapters of the American Institute of Architects. The BSA Foundation, a charitable organization, supports activities that illuminate the ways that design improves the quality of our lives. All exhibitions at BSA Space are supported by the BSA Foundation. BSA Space is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am–6:00 pm, and on weekends and holidays from 10:00 am–5:00 pm. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, visit architects.org/bsaspace.

About Moshe Safdie FAIA and Safdie Architects

Moshe Safdie FAIA is an architect, urban planner, educator, theorist, and author who embraces a comprehensive and humane design philosophy. In keeping with a philosophical approach that Safdie has applied around the world for more than five decades, the design of each of his projects is responsive to local historic, cultural, and environmental contexts. In recognition of his work’s impact around the world and his lasting influence on generations of younger architects, Safdie was awarded the 2015 Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects, the organization’s highest honor. 

The firm has designed and realized a wide range of projects around the world, including cultural, civic, and educational institutions; mixed-use urban centers and airports; and masterplans for existing neighborhoods and entirely new cities, many of which have become landmarks in their communities.

Notable projects include Habitat ’67 in Montreal; Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort and ArtScience Museum in Singapore; the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles; and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri. Safdie Architects is based in Boston with offices in Toronto, Jerusalem, Singapore, and Shanghai. For more information, visit msafdie.com.

Exhibition organization, credits, and tour 

Curated by Donald Albrecht, an independent curator at the Museum of the City of New York

Exhibition design by Nader Tehrani/NADAAA

Catalog design and exhibition graphics by Paul Carlos and Urshula Barbour/Pure+Applied

Traveling venues

National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, October 8, 2010, through January 14, 2011

Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, October 22, 2013, through March 2, 2014

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, May 31 through September 2, 2014 

National Academy Museum, New York City, September 10, 2015, through January 10, 2016

Organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Skirball Cultural Center, this traveling exhibition was first presented at the National Gallery of Canada from 2010 to 2011, followed by acclaimed runs at the Skirball Cultural Center from 2013 to 2014, the Crystal Bridges Museum in 2014, and the National Academy Museum in New York City from September 2015 to January 2016. 

To accompany the expanded exhibition, Scala Arts Publishers, Inc., has reissued the sold-out exhibition catalog with new content by Moshe Safdie, including the text of his Gold Medal acceptance speech at the AIA 2015 convention, as well as updated project photography. The 160-page catalog contains essays by Moshe Safdie; by exhibition curator and catalog coauthor Donald Albrecht; and by critic, historian, and theorist of Modern and contemporary architecture, and catalog coauthor Sarah Williams Goldhagen. 

 

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Aerial night view of Peabody Essex Museum by Timothy Hursley

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