Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Habitat 67 and the Future of Edited Architecture

  • Exterior in 1967

  • Contstruction

  • Interior shot of smaller unit c. 1967. Image credit McGill University

  • A contemporary two story unit interior. Photo: © James Brittain

  • Terraces

    Habitat 67 terraces.

  • Habitat 67 today.

The idea of beautifully designed, high-density prefabricated compact housing is hardly new. Case in point is Habitat 67. The housing complex, built for the 1967 Expo 67 World’s Fair in Montreal, is a case study in great compact design.

Amazingly, the building was architecture student Moshe Safdie’s Master’s thesis (he did graduate and build many more important buildings). The building shares qualities with the Nakagin Capsule Tower and the Japanese Metabolism architectural movement. Like Nakagin, all of the 354 modules are prefabricated and identical. The 12 stories of modules are arranged and combined in different configurations to make 146 apartments varying in size from 225 to 1,000 sq ft (20 to 90 m). Unlike Nakagin, Habitat 67 has not fallen into disrepair and is an established, resident-owned coop.

While its lego-set look might strike some as contrived, the layout permits each unit to have its own terrace, skylights and direct sunlight (we think it looks pretty cool too). The building also features covered walkways, gardens and other open spaces.

With its prefab construction, high density layout, sunny and livable interiors, the 46 year old Habitat 67 might show that the past holds some best ideas for the future of architecture.

  • anonymous

    I couldn’t read this webpage at all. The picture changes every few seconds, and the pictures are different sizes. The changing picture size caused the article text to jump all over the screen in Chrome. Really irritating.

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