Book | With Intention to Build: The Unrealized Concepts, Ideas, and Dreams of Moshe Safdie

Chronicling some of Moshe Safdie's most significant works and how there is valuable heritage to be mined in the unbuilt

"As an architect committed to building and impacting the environment, I've always considered designs developed without intention of building to be incomplete. So much of reality, be it economics, the force of gravity, or construction feasibility can be ignored as to make such architectural productions less relevant. There is another category of unrealized designs. These are designs conceived with intention to build, resolving the varied forces that constrain and shape architecture, that then, because of external circumstances of one kind or another, remain on the drawing boards... In the case of my practice, some of the most significant works have been designed, detailed, and yet not built; significant in the sense they embody ideas and concepts of great import." 

-Moshe Safdie

Like others in the forefront of architecture, Moshe Safdie’s oeuvre represents more than half unbuilt work. Safdie considers some of these to be his most significant designs.

In this richly illustrated book, replete with hand-drawn sketches, archival photography, detailed models and studies, Safdie explains that for those who design in order to build, not succeeding in building is not a failure. These projects, while never realized, were conceived and designed with intention to build and chart an evolution of concepts, values, technologies, societies and policies.

In conversation with Michael J. Crosbie, Safdie shares critical notes on his unrealized projects, illuminates solutions to complex design challenges and constraints, and sheds light on how the humanistic design principles that underpin all his work have been applied and refined over time. This new volume is an engaging journey through Safdie's processes, as well as a historical reference of the social and political forces at play at the time of each project.

Projects discussed include the original Habitat proposal (Montreal, 1954), Centre Pompidou (Paris, 1971), Columbus Center (NYC, 1985) as well as more recent projects such as The Abrahamic Family House (Abu Dhabi, 2019) and the National Art Museum of China (Beijing, 2019).

Purchasing Options: Bookshop, Indiebound, Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, Harvard Book Store or at your local bookstore.

Published in Events on February 1, 2021