Moshe Safdie Architecture Portfolio of Selected Projects

of 09

Marina Bay Sands Resort, 2011

Marina Bay Sands Resort and Casino, designed by Moshe Safdie, Singapore
Marina Bay Sands Resort and Casino, designed by Moshe Safdie, Singapore. Photo by Luca Tettoni/Robert Harding World Imagery/Getty Images

The hotel that Moshe Safdie designed for Sheldon Adelson's Sands Corporation is a far cry from the humble, economic, boxy Habitat '67. Back in 1967, Safdie designed Habitat as a modular, prefabricated, Metabolist residential compound—a career-making coup for the young architect at the Montreal World Exposition. Forty years later and an ocean away, Safdie had more tools (including money) to use for the  Singapore resort. The hotel at the Marina Bay waterfront is designed skyward, with three huge tower modules connected by what has become THE place to be seen—the Sands SkyPark, a combination observation deck, nightclub, and the world's largest rooftop swimming hole.

About Marina Bay Sands Resort:

Location: Republic of Singapore in Southeast Asia
Completed: 2011
Architect: Moshe Safdie Architects
Height of Each Tower: 680 feet (207 meters)
Floors in Each Tower: 57
Use: Mixed-use integrated resort, including 3 hotel towers connected by a multi-use SkyPark, a lotus-shaped ArtScience Museum, casinos, theaters, restaurants, and multiple shopping venues (of course).

Learn More:

  • Reaching for the Sky: The Marina Bay Sands Singapore by Moshe Safdie, ORO Editions, 2013
    (buy online)
  • Marina Bay Sands LEGO
    (buy online)
  • A Review of the Marina Bay Sands, Southeast Asia Travel Expert at

Sources: Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort, Projects, Safdie Archhitects; Marina Bay Sands, EMPORIS [accessed May 14, 20`15]

of 09

Virasat-e-Khalsa, Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex, 2011

Virasat-e-Khalsa, Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex, a Museum of the Sikh People designed by Moshe Safdie, Anandpur Sahib, Punjab, India
Virasat-e-Khalsa, Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex, Anandpur Sahib, Punjab, India. Photo by not a spectator but an actor of the scene/Moment Open Collection/Getty Images

Architect Moshe Safdie has taken on a number of architectural projects that honor a people's history and culture. His most famous is considered the research center and memorial to Holocaust victims, the 2005 Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel. A half dozen years later, he moved on to India, and created Virasat-e-Khalsa, a 75-acre complex of buildings dedicated to the history of the Sikh people.

Safdie often uses bridges, both literally and metaphorically. For this project, a 540-foot pathway connects the research and media library with the museum gallery, which displays the permanent collection of Sikh history. Roofs of solid geometric shapes—sliced cones, cubes, and cylinders—are covered in shiny, reflective metal.

About Virasat-e-Khalsa:

Location: Anandpur Sahib, Punjab, India
Completed: 2011
Construction Materials: cast-in-place concrete, Gwalior stone, stainless steel
Use: Museum of Sikh culture and history

Learn More:

Sources: Khalsa Heritage Centre, Projects, Safdie Architects; Architecture, Virasat-e-Khalsa website [accessed May 14, 2015]

of 09

U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), 2011

Moshe Safdie-designed headquarters of the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), Washington, DC
Moshe Safdie-designed headquarters of the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), Washington, DC. Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images News Collection/Getty Images

In 1984 President Ronald Reagan signed legislation that established this institute, a type of think-tank for finding nonviolent resolutions to conflicts and promoting international peace. It took another twenty years for Congress to fund the building of this headquarters.

Similar to the two-function design of Virasat-e-Khalsa in India, Safdie designed USIP around two atria—one space for scholarly research and the other space for conferences and meetings.

"The atria are roofed by a series of undulating spherical and toroidal winglike elements constructed of steel frame and white translucent glass," says the architect. "The roofs appear opaque and white on the exterior during the day and glow from within at night."

About USIP:

Location: 2301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20037
Completed: 2011
Architect: Moshe Safdie Architects
Use: Government

Critical Responses:

Sources: United States Institute of Peace Headquarters, Safdie Architects [accessed May 14, 2015]

of 09

U.S. Federal Courthouse, 2008

Columns on U.S. Federal Courthouse, Springfield, Massachusetts, Moshe Safdie, architect, 2008
U.S. Federal Courthouse, Springfield, Massachusetts, Moshe Safdie, architect, 2008. Photo by Barry Winiker/Photolibrary/Getty Images

When Philip Johnson designed the Town Hall in Celebration, Florida, the many columns in front of the building seemed jocular overkill. Moshe Safdie's use of the modern column on this government building, however, seems a modern respectfulness of a Classical past.

About the US Federal Courthouse:

Location: 300 State Street, Springfield, Massachusetts 01105
Completed: 2008
Architect: Moshe Safdie Architects
Floors: 3 above grade
Construction Materials: reinforced concrete; precast concrete columns; painted steel and aluminum curtainwalls; structural steel frame; Indiana limestone; "progressive collapse resistive design"
Use: Government

In the Words of the Architect:

" The Constitution and the notion of the Bill of Rights, both so central to our judiciary system, must be given profound expression in the symbolism of the 21st-century courthouse. The federal courthouse should bridge the authority and order present in historical models with the pluralistic spirit of our time by creating an accessible place in the city that speaks both of community and authority."

Source: US General Services Administration Design Excellence Program (PDF) [accessed May 14, 2015]

of 09

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, 2011

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. Photo by Elizabeth W. Kearley/Moment Mobile Collection/Getty Images

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art purchased a Frank Lloyd Wright house for their collection. The problem was that the 1954 Bachman Wilson House was located in New Jersey, but the museum is in Arkansas. It turns out that was not a problem. Between 2013 and 2015, the museum trucked the carefully inventoried pieces South and reassembled it on the grounds of the Moshe Safdie designed  museum campus. Today, instead of overlooking Millstone River, Wright's Usonion overlooks Crystal Spring. 

Oddly enough, this is not the first time a Safdie designed museum has relocated a piece of architecture. A visitor to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts can tour Yin Yu Tang, a typical Chinese home. now part of the Peabody's permanent collection.

About Crystal Bridges:

Location: Museum Way, off NE J Street, Bentonville, Arkansas
Completed: 2011
Architect: Moshe Safdie Architects
Use: Museum

Critical Responses:

Learn More About Crystal Bridges:

of 09

Vancouver Public Library, 1995

Vancouver Public Library Designed by Moshe Safdie, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Public Library Designed by Moshe Safdie, British Columbia, Canada. Photo by Michael Wheatley/All Canada Photos Collection/Getty Images

Moshe Safdie designed Library Square as a "public space with a civic identity." As with many of his other buildings, Safdie combines cubes and rectangles with elliptic geometry augmented with walls of glass. This is the first of two dynamic libraries designed by Safdie, the second in 2003 for Salt Lake City, Utah.

About Vancouver Public Library:

Location: 350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 6B1, Canada
Completed: 1995
Architect: Moshe Safdie Architects
Architectural Height: 276 feet (84.04 meters)
Floors: 9 library floors; 21 story glass arcade
Construction Materials: Concrete; glass
Style: Postmodern
Use: Library

Sources: Central Library FAQ, Vancouver Public Library; Library Square, EMPORIS; Vancouver Library Square, Safdie Architects

of 09

Toronto Pearson International Airport, 2007

Toronto Pearson International Airport Designed by Moshe Safdie
Toronto Pearson International Airport Designed by Moshe Safdie. Photo by Oleksiy Maksymenko/All Canada Photos Collection/Getty Images

Lester B. Pearson International Airport is Canada's largest airport. Safdie joined forces with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and Adamson Associates Architects to design and build one of North America's premiere transportation hubs.

About Toronto Pearson:

Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Completed: 2007; expansion is underway, with a Master Plan to 2030
Architecture Team: Moshe Safdie Architects, SOM, and Adamson Associates

Sources: Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Safdie Architects; Toronto Pearson International Airport New Terminal Development, Adamson Associates [accessed May 15, 2015]

of 09

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 2011

Kauffman Center in Kansas City, Missouri
Kauffman Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by mark shaiken - photography/Moment Collection/Getty Images

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is a gateway to Kansas City. Moshe Safdie's design transitions the prairie into a cityscape, all in one building.

In the Words of the Architect:

" There is a profound ethic to architecture which is different from the other arts. A painter, a sculptor, a writer, they can express freely. They don’t affect society as a whole. We build buildings that have a purpose, that stay there for hundreds of years or decades....So we have a responsibility to make buildings that have a timeless quality about them, which is the ethic of our profession."

About the Kauffman Center:

Location: 1601 Broadway Blvd, Kansas City, Missouri
Completed: 2011
Architect: Moshe Safdie Architects
Learn More: Theaters and Performing Arts Centers: Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Source of Quotation: PBS Newshour, Jeffrey Brown, October 14, 2011 transcript at [accessed May 14, 2015]

of 09

Yad Vashem, 2005

Yad Vashem Opening Overlooking Jerusalem
Yad Vashem Opening Overlooking Jerusalem. Photo by Sören Herbst/Moment Collection/Getty Images

Described as "a prism-like triangular structure," the Holocaust History Museum is carved from space within a mountain, so the 4,200 square meters of interior space are largely underground, partially lit by skylights breaking through the mountain's surface. At the end of the museum experience, the visitor is faced "with the exit bursting forth from the mountain’s slope to a dramatic view of modern-day Jerusalem"—an architectural symbol of Life, endurance, and freedom. Yad Vashem has become a destination meeting place for many heads of state, with its symbolic architecture of memory and hope.

About Yad Vashem:

Location: Har Hazikaron (Mount of Remembrance) in Jerusalem
Completed: 2005
Structural Material: Reinforced concrete
Architect: Moshe Safdie Architects
Learn More: Museum Architecture: Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum

Source: Overview and Architecture, The Museum Complex, Yad Vashem The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority [accessed July 5, 2015]