A Deft Variation On A Theme - H67 By Montreal’s Studio Practice

If you were given the opportunity to touch-up a famous masterpiece, would you take it?

 

 

Photo courtesy of Studio Practice / Adrien Williams & Gorgin S. Fazli

 

 

In 1967, Canada celebrated its centennial year with The International and Universal Exposition, more commonly known as Expo67. One of the main themes of the World’s Fair that year was housing. Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67, pictured above, became a major symbol of Expo 67. It was a pavilion that people flocked to, and also served as a temporary residence to the many dignitaries visiting Montreal for the Expo.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Studio Practice / Adrien Williams & Gorgin S. Fazli

 

 

One of the units in this iconic piece of Canadian architecture was renovated by Montreal’s Studio Practice in 2015. In keeping with Moshe Safdie’s theme of modular living through the use of pre-fabricated concrete cubes, Studio Practice keeps the lines of their renovation clean and simple.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Studio Practice / Adrien Williams & Gorgin S. Fazli

 

 

Interior decoration has been kept to a minimum, respecting the Modernist philosophy with which the building was designed. Instead, the focus has been redirected to large swaths of concrete and glass, windows framing the gorgeous views of the city skyline, and the St. Lawrence River below.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Studio Practice / Adrien Williams & Gorgin S. Fazli

 

 

The main goal Studio Practice set out to reach was to restore the panoramic views original to Habitat 67. Past iterations of Habitat saw the interior broken off into smaller regions by opaque interior partitions; Studio Practice swung in the opposite direction, eliminating the existence of walls within the apartment.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Studio Practice / Adrien Williams & Gorgin S. Fazli

 

 

The multiple levels within H67 lends to the separation of space within the unit, creating distinct areas in which to inhabit for various purposes. In so doing, the unit gains a sense of light and airiness, yet retaining a modicum of privacy for each living area.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Studio Practice / Adrien Williams & Gorgin S. Fazli

 

 

Studio Practice’s renovation respects Moshe Safdie’s original vision for Habitat 67 – a modern day urban hanging garden; its design informed by the modularity of its pre-cast forms. Safdie set out to bring the ingredients of detached homes and gardens into the vocabulary of urban high-rise architecture, and Studio Practice’s renovation is a great example of a variation on a theme of one of the cultural and architectural greats of Canada.

Check out the rest of the impressive portfolio at Studio Practice.

 

Researched and Written by Charmaine Cheng, Architectural Technology, Centennial College

Posted In: Quebec

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