Unusual Houses of the World – Habitat 67 – Building Blocks

My “Unusual Houses of the World” rubric is back to Canada today. But this time we will be moving east of Toronto and visiting Habitat 67, unusual building structure located in Montreal, PQ

Habitat 67 - Front

Habitat 67 was originally built as one of the pavilions for Expo 67 – the World’s Fair held from April to October 1967. It is located at 2600 Avenue Pierre-Dupuy on the Marc-Drouin Quay next to the Saint Lawrence River.
Structure was designed by architect Moshe Safdie, who at the time of the project approval in 1964 was only 26 years old
Habitat 67 - Building Process

Structure consists of 354 identical, prefabricated concrete forms arranged in various combinations. Building is reaching up to 12 stories in height. There  146 residences of varying sizes and configurations, each formed from one to eight linked concrete units.

The complex originally contained 158 apartments, but several apartments have since been joined to create larger units, reducing the total number. Each unit is connected to at least one private terrace, which can range from approximately 225 to 1,000 square feet (20 to 90 m2) in size.

Habitat 67 - At Night
Originally, construction was financed by the federal government, but is now owned by its tenants, who formed a limited partnership that purchased the building from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in 1985. Safdie still owns a penthouse apartment in the building
Habitat 67 - Bird's eye
Habitat 67 was planned to be a smaller part of much larger housing complex promoting high density suburban affordable housing. Two major failures were faced by builders though. Habitat still remains the only complex of this kind, due to high building cost – about $140 000 per unit. The second major failure was “housing affordability”, as excessive demand brought the prices sky-high.
Habitat 67 - Evening
“Of the 900 apartments planned for this gigantic building block, 158 were completed. 354 prefabricated individual containers are stacked in a confused order and connected by steel cables. Projections and recesses are organized in such a way that each apartment has a balcony on the roof of the apartment immediately below.”
— Peter Gossel and Gabriele Leuthauser. Architecture in the Twentieth Century. p265.
“This extraordinary housing development comprising 158 units of from one to four bedrooms, with many small gardens and decks, was planned as a prototype for a system that would streamline the building process and cut costs. It was assembled from 354 reinforced-concrete building modules, ingeniously stacked so as to give privacy and views to each unit. Unfortunately, construction costs proved to be prohibitive.”
— from Sylvia Hart Wright. Sourcebook of Contemporary North American Architecture: From Postwar to Postmodern. p118.
“Habitat is a model community constructed along the St. Lawrence River in Montreal, composed of 354 prefabricated modules which combineto form a three-dimensional space structure. The modules, or ‘boxes’ as they are known, are connected in varying combinations to create 158residences ranging from 600 ft2 to 1,700 ft2. Pedestrian streets serve as horizontal circulation throughout the entire complex. Habitat ’67 wasthe realisation of Moshe Safdie’s thesis titled “A Case for City Living, A Study of Three Urban High Density Housing Systems for CommunityDevelopment” and was also the major theme exhibition of the 1967 Montreal World Exposition. “
—from the Moshe Safdie Archives at McGill University, Montreal
Habitat 67 - Panorama
Enjoy a quick documentary about Habitat!
These days you could rent or even buy a unit in Habitat. I was curious as to the pricing, and here it is.
2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, for sale, $485 000

2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, for lease, $2600 per month

3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, just $1 225 000

4 bedroomns, 2 bathrooms, $760 000

Compliments of Marina Gavrylyuk

Being a Real Estate Agent with Sutton Group Summit Realty is so much fun!

Looking to own an amazing house? Ask me how!

More unusual houses:

Toilet Shaped House
Kuchlbauer Tower
Snail House
Longaberger Giant Basket
Free Spirit Spheres
Floating Castle
Airplane House
Seashell House
Pierre Cardin’s Bubble House “Pallais Bulles”
Grand Piano

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