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Christopher Hawthrone’s book review of Moshe Safdie’s If Walls Could Speak published by Architectural Record describes the memoir “a highly readable, largely chronological overview of Safdie’s career, which bloomed early with the success of the Habitat residential complex at Montreal’s Expo '67.” Hawthorne gives an overview of selected chapters in If Walls Could Speak, with a focus on how Safdie started his career in architecture. To skeptics of Safdie’s architectural practice, Hawthrone writes, “he offered only a few piquant complaints about the critics who never warmed to his work or the big commissions that, for one reason or another, got away.”
"If Walls Could Speak provides a highly readable, largely chronological overview of Safdie’s career, which bloomed early with the success of the Habitat residential complex at Montreal’s Expo '67."
— Christopher Hawthrone, architectural critic
About Christopher Hawthrone:
Christopher Hawthorne was the architecture critic of the Los Angeles Times from 2004 to 2018 and served as Los Angeles's first Chief Design Officer.
About If Walls Could Speak:
If Walls Could Speak takes readers behind the veil of an essential yet mysterious profession to explain through Moshe Safdie's own experiences how an architect thinks and works—from the spark of imagination through the design process, the model-making, the politics, the engineering, the materials. Relating memorable stories about what has inspired him—from childhoods in Haifa and Montreal to the projects and personalities worldwide that have captured his imagination—Safdie reveals the complex interplay that underpins every project and his vision for the role architecture can and should play in society at large. The Memoir is illustrated throughout with drawings, sketches, photographs, and documents from Safdie Architects' voluminous archives that illuminate Safdie's stories.
A book like no other, If Walls Could Speak will forever change the way you look at and appreciate any built structure.