Article | Habitually Daring: Moshe Safdie Looks Back

Literary Review of Canada

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Witold Rybczynski’s book review “Habitually Daring” is a rapt glance into the boldest moments of Moshe Safdie’s Memoir, If Walls Could Speak. The piece, published by Literary Review of Canada, commends Safdie for a daring and forthright reflection of his 55 years in architecture. Noting both moments of defeat and their later triumphs, Rybczynski gives honest commentary on the ebbs and flows of the career in architecture recounted in Safdie’s memoir, calling it “full of story and duress.” An admirer of the forthright, Rybczynski calls out moments in Safdie’s life where he was most vocal in his firm beliefs, praising him as “unusually outspoken.”

“If Walls Could Speak is similarly plain-spoken as it details setbacks as well as successes and points to 'stalwart patrons and determined antagonists.' Safdie’s buildings can be dramatic, even theatrical. But this book is distinctly unpretentious: the tone is intimate and conversational. While the writing occasionally feels excessively upbeat — all architects are optimists — it is uncluttered by the jargon that infects so much architectural prose today.”

— Witold Rybczynski, Architect/architecture critic

About Witold Rybczynski:

A Literary Review of Canada Contributor, Witold Rybczynski was shortlisted for the Charles Taylor Prize for A Clearing in the Distance. His latest is The Story of Architecture.

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Published in Media on February 16, 2023

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