Saturday, May 3, 2014

What if your kid created a Stonehenge kind of object made out of Legos which is pretty cool but then went a step further and suggested that he would build a park with trees and walking trails and even   a swimming pool with the water cascading over the sides?  All of this on tap of this Stonehenge design on the horizontal top.  At this point,   most   people would say, stop being silly be realistic. Luckily no one stopped this dreamer of an architect who did exactly that. Lego’s is more than just a toy and is used seriously by a famous architect.  His name is Moshe Safdie   who was born in Israel and who is Canadian.  He may be best known for his modern day Stonehenge.  He took the design from the famous vertical rocks with a horizontal rock on top of them and made his building into a 10,000,000 square foot resort in Singapore.

The Marina Bay Sands Resort dominates the Singapore skyline.  It is 57 stories high and 650 feet off the ground.  There is the park on the roof and a pool that seems to spill right over the edge.  This little boy had a dream of an unusual building and managed to make his dreams come true.  He wasn’t sure   what it would feel like to swim outdoors on the 57Th floor.  Would it be too windy or would you feel vertigo?  Nevertheless, possible problems were worked   out and the building exists today.  He has completed 85 other projects across five continents.  Museums, colleges, apartment complexes, libraries, government buildings, airports and even an entire town called Madlin, Israel.
He is known now as the global citizen.  Few people will get to have expositions   at museums giving   tribute to their work at a museum that they designed but that is exactly what is going on at the Scerbo Cultural Center in Los Angeles.  Moshe is a citizen of three countries, Israel by birth, Canada   by adoption and the United States by adoption so he has   three passports. Born in 1938 he spent his childhood in Israel and his teen years in Montreal Canada.  He went on to study architecture and his thesis was a concept for reinventing the apartment building. His design made him world famous and the complex was built   called Habitat 67 which was featured in Canada’s World’s Fair.

It is rare to get such accolades at only 24 years old.  The point was to create a better way to live in an inner city.  They were affordable apartments that were not like cells but more like   houses accessible to nature.  Most 24 year olds aren’t able to build a place for them to live in.  Thinking about the Lego design, each of the boxes were   prefabricated in a factory installed with bathrooms and kitchens in the factory.  Each box was then lifted by cranes and assembled on tap of each other like a Lego project.  Each apartment was made up of two or three or four of each boxes.  50,000,000 people saw his World’s Fair Project and plans were being made for them to be built in places like New York City, Jerusalem and   Puerto Rico but none of them got built which was a big disappointment to him.
He still feels that his apartments is an idea that has yet to come because he thinks that it will proliferate.  Meanwhile there is still waiting lists to habitat the apartments that have been built. The architect says he tried to create with light and water what musicians create with rhythms and melodies to be beyond functional.  He is unique in that he likes to create symbolism into structure.  The holocaust museum is a building that goes through a mountain symbolizing death and rebirth.  This architect does not build boxes, he builds experiences.

His philosophy is that architecture should have the same effect on us as   music does.  Utility should be beyond functional.  It has all to do with spirituality.  Who knew that bricks and mortar could be so euphoric?  Visit the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC that he designed that is full of windows because to him,  light is peaceful and it penetrate through all aspects of that building.  He is currently working on a large project designed to humanize city living.  The complex will have 3000 units designed to fit   10,000   people in a residential setting built in a Chinese city where each unit will have a garden.

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