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Moshe Safdie named 2019 Wolf Prize Laureate for exploring "social concerns of architecture"

Israel Architecture News - Jan 18, 2019 - 04:20   6280 views

Moshe Safdie named 2019 Wolf Prize Laureate for exploring

Moshe Safdie has been named as the 2019 Wolf Prize Laureate in Architecture given by the International Wolf Foundation. The International Wolf Foundation jury committee in architecture has selected unanimously to award the 2019 Wolf Prize in Architecture to the architect Moshe Safdie for having "a career motivated by the social concerns of architecture and formal experimentation."

The Wolf Prize has a very prestigious international reputation, and is considered the second most important in the world after the Nobel Prize. More than 30 percent of the Wolf Prize winners were later awarded the Nobel Prize in fields shared by the two awards.

Since 1978, five prizes have been awarded annually, four in the sciences and one in the arts on a regular basis, including Medicine, Architecture, Agriculture, Chemistry and Mathematics. A $100,000 cash is given in every field. When more than one winner is chosen in the field, the monetary prize is shared among them in equal parts. To date, 329 recipients have been selected from around the world.   

Moshe Safdie named 2019 Wolf Prize Laureate for exploring

Safdie Architects completed Sky Habitatin 2016 in Singapore. Image © Edward Hendricks, courtesy of Safdie Architects

Safdie, a citizen of Israel, Canada and the United States, an architect, urban planner, theorist and author, has been praised by the jury for following an exemplary career as "motivated by the social concerns of architecture."

"Over a long and distinguished career spanning 50 years, Moshe Safdie has produced a body of work of great originality and artistry in the field of architecture and urbanism," stated the jury.

"The projects undertaken by his architectural studio consistently seek experimentation and can be understood as an evolving form of research. He is also a distinguished educator and in his numerous publications he has articulated a clear and coherent position as an academic and critic."

Moshe Safdie named 2019 Wolf Prize Laureate for exploring

Habitat 67, Montreal, Canada (1967). Image © Tim Hursley

Safdie is best known with his Habitat 67, a new dwelling complex in Montreal, which was realized from Safdie's thesis at McGill University, the project was the central feature of the World’s Fair and a ground-breaking design in the history of architecture. The architect established disown firm in 1964 to realize Habitat 67.

Born in Haifa in 1938, Safdie relocated to Canada with his family in 1953. He graduated from McGill University in 1961 with a degree in architecture. After apprenticing with Louis I. Kahn in Philadelphia, Safdie returned to Montreal to oversee the master plan for the 1967 World Exhibition.

Moshe Safdie named 2019 Wolf Prize Laureate for exploring

Habitat 67, Garden terraces. Image © Sam Tata

Safdie established a Jerusalem branch office in 1970, commencing an intense involvement with the rebuilding of Jerusalem. He was responsible for major segments of the restoration of the Old City and the reconstruction of the new center, linking the Old and New Cities. Over the years, his involvement expanded and included the new city of Modi’in, the new Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, and the Rabin Memorial Center. 

Significant works in Israel include Ben Gurion International Airport, the national campus for the Archeology of Israel, multiple projects for Hebrew Union College, the new city of Modi’in, Yad Vashem Children’s Memorial and Holocaust Museum, and the Rabin Memorial Center, among others.

Moshe Safdie will receive his award at a special ceremony at the Knesset building in Jerusalem, which will be held in May 2019. 

Top image: Moshe Safdie © Stephen Kelly

> via International Wolf Foundation