FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 26, 2013
Katie Klapper, (323) 874-9667
For Safdie Architects
Press Preview: Featuring Moshe Safdie, Uri D. Herscher, and Donald Albrecht
Friday, October 18, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Skirball Cultural Center presents U.S.
premiere of major retrospective exhibition
THE ARCHITECTURE OF MOSHE SAFDIE
October 22, 2013–March 2, 2014
Exhibition coincides with completion of thirty-year
master plan for Safdie-designed Skirball campus
LOS ANGELES—Making its U.S. premiere at the Skirball Cultural Center this October, Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie explores the evolution of the renowned architect’s body of work and the humanistic design philosophy he has demonstrated throughout his nearly fifty-year-long career. The most comprehensive retrospective of Moshe Safdie’s achievements to date, Global Citizen traces his journey from Habitat ’67 in Montreal—a radical solution for quality, affordable housing, for which Safdie first commanded international notice—to his firm’s many acclaimed projects in North America, Israel, and, more recently, China, India, and Singapore.
Conceived and created by Donald Albrecht, Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of the City of New York, Global Citizen displays scale models, drawings, photographs, and films of more than thirty of Safdie’s projects. Together, the more than 200 objects on view demonstrate Safdie’s belief that a building should be an extension of its physical, historical, and cultural environments.
Organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, in association with the Skirball Cultural Center—two of Safdie’s prominent cultural projects—Global Citizen will be on view at the Skirball from October 22, 2013 through March 2, 2014. The presentation coincides with the inauguration of Herscher Hall and Guerin Pavilion at the Skirball. Designed to serve as a learning and conference facility, these newly constructed buildings mark the completion of the Skirball’s fifteen-acre campus, fulfilling a thirty-year partnership between Safdie Architects and the Skirball, which was Safdie’s first cultural commission in the United States. At the Skirball, Global Citizen will include an entire gallery devoted to the project.
“From the very beginning, Moshe Safdie has been a vital member of the Skirball Cultural Center’s planning team, contributing as much to the shaping of our program as to the buildings that give it form,” said Uri D. Herscher, Skirball Founding President and CEO. “We are pleased to present Global Citizen, a remarkable exhibition that will illuminate the creative practice of the architect who has given voice and character to the Skirball’s mission.”
“Global Citizen surveys and illuminates Safdie's brilliant career as architect, urban planner, and visionary,” added Robert Kirschner, Skirball Museum Director. “Our visitors are invited to view Safdie's work not only in our museum galleries but in the full-scale example of the Skirball campus itself. It is an extraordinary opportunity to meet an extraordinary architect."
To commemorate the opening of Global Citizen, Moshe Safdie will present a public talk, on Sunday, October 20, at 3:00 p.m. This will be followed by a number of architecture-related film screenings, workshops, performances, and family programs during the run of the exhibition. Following its presentation at the Skirball, Global Citizen will be on view at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art beginning in summer 2014.
The Architecture of Moshe Safdie
During his career, Moshe Safdie has designed cultural, civic, and educational institutions; mixed-use urban centers and airports; master plans for existing neighborhoods and entirely new cities. Often monumental but always inviting, many of his buildings are characterized by the use of transcendent light, powerful geometry, and iconic forms. Informed by his design philosophy of “progressive contextualism,” Safdie’s projects are grounded in analyses of their natural, cultural, and built environments. Through their integration of architecture with landscape, they provide dynamic social spaces.
“Through his buildings, Moshe Safdie has been especially adept at realizing the aspirations of a surprisingly diverse group of clients,” explained curator Donald Albrecht. “He has created buildings where communities are forged of strangers, memory is enshrined, and identity is created in built form.”
Global Citizen is organized into five sections, each dedicated to pivotal points of development in Safdie’s design philosophy. Since its first showing—at the Safdie-designed National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, in 2010–2011—it has been enhanced with updated images and materials from projects completed since 2011.
The first section spotlights his early, formative work, in particular the groundbreaking Habitat ’67. Created for the Montreal Expo, the apartment complex soon became an icon for both the world fair and its host city. Widely considered a landmark of housing design, modern architecture, and city planning, Habitat ’67 was inspired by the hillside villages of Safdie’s native Israel. Its stacked, concrete box structure made bold use of prefabricated materials and introduced innovative concepts for circulation and transportation networks. This section also details Safdie’s early efforts to replicate the ideas of Habitat across the globe, including New York City, Puerto Rico, and Israel.
A full section of Global Citizen is devoted to Safdie’s significant contributions to Israel’s architectural landscape, including projects such as Ben Gurion International Airport, Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum, Hebrew Union College, and Mamilla Center in Jerusalem.
Further evidence of Safdie’s design and building process is seen in his North American projects, among them the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Salt Lake City Public Library; United States Institute of Peace, Washington, D.C.; and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Embraced as powerful expressions of civic and national identities, many of these structures include grand spaces for communal exchange, such as sky-lit lobbies and monumental colonnades.
Safdie’s first U.S. cultural project, the Skirball Cultural Center, is explored in a separate gallery. Representing a three-decade collaboration between the architect and the Skirball’s founder, Uri Herscher, the institution’s campus was conceived as a village of pavilions, courtyards, and gardens nestled into the Sepulveda Pass mountainside. The campus was built in four phases, each designed by Safdie, in a rare instance of a single architect overseeing multiple expansions of his initial design.
Global Citizen will also showcase Safdie Architects’ expanding presence across Asia, including the mega-scale project Marina Bay Sands, the ten-million-square-foot integrated resort and urban district on the Singapore waterfront, completed in 2011; the international competition submission for the National Art Museum of China in Beijing; and the Khalsa Heritage Centre in Anandpur Sahib, India, which celebrates 500 years of Sikh history and houses permanent exhibitions presenting Sikh history, religion, and culture.
The final section of the exhibition considers the future of the global city. Developed specifically for Global Citizen, “Habitat of the Future” presents an evolutionary reworking of Habitat. The culmination of two years of design research, “Habitat of the Future” proposes new design strategies in four different studies that innovatively address the growing density of cities around the world.
Related Public, School, and Teacher Programs
In addition to the public lecture by Moshe Safdie on October 20, the Skirball will present several programs themed to Global Citizen and architecture during the run of the exhibition. These include free matinees of films about architecture; and “diy day @ the Skirball.” Among diverse offerings for families are Global Cardboard Challenge and Lego Day.
As part of its extensive outreach to local schools, the Skirball will offer an interactive gallery program for students in Grades 9–12. The school tour will encourage students to consider Safdie’s design and building process as they explore Global Citizen and the Skirball campus. In addition, Grade 4 students from Annandale Elementary School will experience the design process first-hand during a six-week in-school artist residency. During the course of the project, developed by the Skirball in collaboration with fabrication and design studio Knowhow Shop, the students will design and build a community structure for their school site. Finally, as part of its ongoing teacher professional development initiative, the Skirball will hold several workshops for K–12 teachers focusing on art and architecture.
More information about exhibition-related programs is available at www.skirball.org.
Catalogue and Merchandise
Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie (Scala Publishers, 2010, 144 pp., hardcover, $35) is a fully illustrated exhibition catalogue, featuring essays by Moshe Safdie, curator Donald Albrecht, and critic Sarah Williams Goldhagen, plus 130 photographs by Gus Powell. It is available for purchase at Audrey’s Museum Store at the Skirball. The store will also carry an expanded collection of books written by and about Moshe Safdie.
In addition, Audrey’s Museum Store offers a selection of building block sets of varying shapes and materials, spatial games and puzzles, and a selection of high-design gift items—jewelry, watches, home goods, and stationery items—that celebrate Safdie’s design aesthetic. Available in-store and online at www.skirball.org/shop.
GLOBAL CITIZEN: THE ARCHITECTURE OF MOSHE SAFDIE IS ORGANIZED BY CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, BENTONVILLE, ARKANSAS, IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE SKIRBALL CULTURAL CENTER, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA.
THE EXHIBITION AND ITS RELATED EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS ARE GENEROUSLY CO-PRESENTED BY:
The Skirball Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation
MEDIA SPONSORS FOR THE LOCAL PRESENTATION OF GLOBAL CITIZEN:
Los Angeles magazine
About the Skirball
The Skirball Cultural Center is dedicated to exploring the connections between 4,000 years of Jewish heritage and the vitality of American democratic ideals. It welcomes and seeks to inspire people of every ethnic and cultural identity. Guided by our respective memories and experiences, together we aspire to build a society in which all of us can feel at home. The Skirball Cultural Center achieves its mission through educational programs that explore literary, visual, and performing arts from around the world; through the display and interpretation of its permanent collections and changing exhibitions; through an interactive family destination inspired by the Noah’s Ark story; and through outreach to the community.
About Moshe Safdie
Moshe Safdie is an architect, urban planner, educator, theorist, and author who embraces a comprehensive and humane design philosophy. In keeping with a philosophical approach that Safdie has applied around the world for more than four decades, the design of each of his projects is responsive to local historic, cultural, and environmental contexts and grows out of a vision of the way it can affect the lives of the individuals for whom the buildings and public spaces are created. Safdie engages in an iterative design process, working closely with the client and consultants to test each project’s program, refine design ideas, and facilitate the development of appropriate and effective solutions. Safdie Architects is committed to architecture that supports and enhances a project’s program; that is informed by the geographic, social, and cultural elements that define a place; and that responds to human needs and aspirations.
The firm has designed and realized a wide range of projects around the world, including cultural, civic, and educational institutions; mixed-use urban centers and airports; and master plans for existing neighborhoods and entirely new cities, many of which have become landmarks in their communities, including Habitat ’67 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts; the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort in Singapore; and Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, Israel. Recent openings include the Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex, the national museum of the Sikh people in India; the United States Institute of Peace Headquarters in Washington, D.C.; the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri; and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. Safdie Architects is based in Boston with offices in Toronto, Jerusalem, Singapore, and Shanghai.
Visiting the Skirball
The Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049. Free on-site parking is available; street parking is strictly prohibited. The Skirball is also accessible by Metro Rapid Bus 761. Museum hours: Tuesday–Friday 12:00–5:00 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; closed Mondays and holidays. Museum admission: $10 General; $7 Seniors, Full-Time Students, and Children over 12; $5 Children 2–12. Exhibitions are always free to Skirball Members and Children under 2. Exhibitions are free to all visitors on Thursdays. For general information, the public may call (310) 440-4500 or visit www.skirball.org. The Skirball is also home to Zeidler’s Café, which serves innovative California cuisine in an elegant setting, and Audrey’s Museum Store, which sells books, contemporary art, music, jewelry, and more.