Original Proposal

Safdie's thesis concept was transformed over the course of several years and resulted in two distinct projects: an original scheme and what is known as the built scheme, or Phase I, of Habitat '67. Beginning as a basically vertical structure in which non-loadbearing modules were "plugged into" a "super frame," designs for the "original scheme" expanded the scope and altered the overall form of his thesis project. The "original scheme" was a concept for a community which included a twenty-two storey commercial complex with a full range of community and cultural facilities and a separate ten-storey complex, which was primarily residential, containing a total of 950 housing units.

The structure for the "original scheme" evolved into a series of inclined A-frames connected by pedestrian streets with loadbearing modular units attached, forming a three-dimensional membrane sheltering community facilities below. Circulation was provided by stairs and elevators located within the inclined A-frames which led to the pedestrian streets.

Originally expected to cost $42 million, the government decided to modify the scope of the "original scheme" to fall within a budget of $13.5 million. This resulted in the construction of a ten-storey section of the original complex, located on the north end of MacKay Pier, for 158 units and no related facilities.

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Copyright © (2001) Canadian Architecture Collection, McGill University