Project Update | The Promise of Habitat '67

Major Milestones for Safdie Architects' Residential Projects in Asia and Latin America

Full Press Release here or as a pdf download below.

More than 50 years after Habitat ’67 presented a new vision for urban living, Altair Residences completes in Colombo; Qorner Tower tops out in Quito; and Phase II of Habitat Qinhuangdao launches.

“Over the past year there has been a rediscovery of the interdependence between nature and society. We have seen an outcry for our basic human needs to be met – access to daylight, outdoor space, connection to nature, and the ritual of public life at all scales. After a year in relative isolation from one another, and the urban habitat at-large, the ideals of Habitat ’67 have become ever more relevant as we reimagine the urban landscape.”    – Moshe Safdie

Embodying the ideals and foundational principles of Habitat ’67 – that architecture should be profoundly humane and connected to nature – the projects are designed to maximize daylight, natural air, privacy, and communal space. While incorporating dramatic stepped profiles, private landscaped terraces, and public garden amenities at multiple levels, each bespoke response reflects their respective site, geography, climate, and culture.

The new film, Habitat in Nature, investigates how the initial ideas of Habitat ’67 have evolved and adapted to inform and inspire Habitat Qinhuangdao. Through firsthand interviews with residents of both Habitat ’67 in Montreal and Habitat Qinhuangdao in China, the film accents the lasting impact the Habitat model has on the built environment and on the lives of its inhabitants.  (See film above)

Altair Residences (Colombo, Sri Lanka): Completes Q4 2021

Designed with the needs of a tropical home in mind, Altair’s pair of towers – one leaning upon the other – provides each unit with cross ventilation, balanced diffusion of sunlight and unparalleled views of Beira Lake, the Indian Ocean, and the surrounding city.  

Qorner Tower (Quito, Ecuador): Topping out September 2021 

Overlooking Quito’s La Carolina Park, the 24-story Qorner Tower maximizes the potential of a small site. The building profile steps back to reveal a “hill side” of terraces and steps forward to create a “cliff face”. As the building steps in and out, generous double-height landscaped terraces are created on each level, with natural shading provided by the protruding terraces above.


Habitat Qinhuangdao (China): Phase II Launched August 2021

Set between the urban density of the city and the coastline of the Bohai Sea, Habitat Qinhuangdao is organized into a series of linked residential blocks along the shore. Conceived to accommodate increased density, stepped and staggered buildings provide units with private terraces, balconies, and solariums. Porous residential blocks of 16 stories each are designed to create large “urban windows” that frame views to the sea, provide spaces for community, and offer a sense of openness.

“Moshe has held steadfast with his thesis for over 50 years, that designing to improve our quality of life must be a priority for the profession. We are now seeing many of the ideas, once held as mere utopian dreams, becoming a reality. Habitat’s legacy has so much more potential yet to explore.”  – Jaron Lubin, Design Partner

Published in Events on August 12, 2021