Moshe Safdie, Surfing & Legos…One Degree Of Separation!

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

Day 99     September 16, 2014

Montreal

Quebec, Canada

Just as we suspected might happen, we hit morning traffic going into Montreal. It was slow going, but we did get there. Of course, the central downtown district was crawling with traffic, so we couldn’t park there. So screw that. 

Morning traffic into Montreal

Morning traffic into Montreal

Nowhere to park the Space Shuttle...

Old meets new in downtown Montreal

We got out of the downtown mess and made our way over to Habitat 67. I remember seeing it on a family vacation to Canada when I was only about 9 years old.. a long time ago, in a land far far away. It was time to see it again!

This is from Wikipedia…

Habitat 67, or simply Habitat, is a model community and housing complex in Montreal, Canada, designed by Canadian architect Moshe Safdie. It was originally conceived as his master’s thesis in architecture at McGill University and then built as a pavilion for Expo 67, the World’s Fair held from April to October 1967.

According to an article on dezeen.com, Safdie planned the arrangement of the project by using 2:1 Lego bricks to build models.

“We bought out all the Legos in Montreal at the time, because we built many, many alternatives.”

I wonder if he still owns all those Legos. I hear they can be hard to find and can be quite expensive. He could be sitting on a gold mine of Legos!

Habitat was pretty spectacular! And despite all of the signs surrounding it, telling us that this was private property and to keep out, we didn’t. This is just how it is when you are with an architect. Look around…until you get kicked out. And we did look around…and we did get kicked out…but not before having a good look at the place!

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

We're in!!

We’re in!!

Trespassing @ Habitat 67

Trespassing @ Habitat 67

Cool view from inside one the courtyards

Cool view from inside one the courtyards

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

One last shot before being kicked out of Habitat 67

One last shot before being kicked out

One of the little known cool things about Habitat, is that it’s located right next to a surf break. Uh-huh!! There’s a surf break on the river right behind it! When the fast-moving water hits underwater boulders…voila…it forms a stationary wave that can reach up to six feet in height.

Surfing on the river!!

Surfing on the river!!

The wave wasn’t that big when we were there, but the rapid speed of the water, and the fact that the surfers had to enter the wave by being swept backwards, downriver into it, made the whole scenario look rather frightening! And if a surfer missed the wave, which most of them did that day, they’d get swept downriver, get out, walk up the embankment, walk back to the entry point, and try again. Not for the weak or faint of heart.

When we’d seen enough of the surfers and enough of the architecture, we ate lunch in the Space Shuttle, and then went to visit the nearby Biosphere. Like Habitat 67, Biosphere had also been built for the 1967 World’s Fair.

Lunch in the Space Shuttle

Lunch in the Space Shuttle

Biosphere is now an interactive environmental museum, and, unlike Habitat 67, it is open to the public…just not on Tuesdays!!! Crap!! We could walk around and take photos, but we couldn’t go inside.

Biosphere

Biosphere

Biosphere

Biosphere

Biosphere

Biosphere

Biosphere

Biosphere

Biosphere

Biosphere

We thought we’d try one more time to find parking in downtown Montreal. And once more, we were shut out. So we drove over to the old historic part of Montreal, where we totally lucked into finding two adjacent parking spaces on the street.

Old Montreal

Old Montreal

New stuff, in Old Montreal

New stuff, in Old Montreal

After further exploration, and dinner, we left the city.

Industrial scenes

Shooting while stuck in traffic on the way out of Old Montreal

Industrial scenes

Industrial scenes

Industrial scenes

Industrial scenes

We’d planned to return to the city in the morning to look around some more and to go back to Biosphere, so we found the nearest RV park and called it a night.

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