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  6. BIG Designs Moshe Safdie-Inspired Habitat for Toronto

BIG Designs Moshe Safdie-Inspired Habitat for Toronto

BIG Designs Moshe Safdie-Inspired Habitat for Toronto
BIG Designs Moshe Safdie-Inspired Habitat for Toronto, Courtyard. Image © BIG
Courtyard. Image © BIG

BIG has unveiled plans for a new residential development on downtown Toronto's King Street West. A "ziggurat" designed to "create communities," as The Globe and Mail says, "Toronto 2.0" features two "pixilated" towers likened to Moshe Safdie's Habitat 67


With five "peaks" ranging from 15 to 17 stories, the cascading development will be comprised of 12-by-12 foot modules that stack to form more than 500 units. Residents will be connected to the building's central courtyard and street via a network of public and private pathways.  

Courtyard. Image © BIG
Courtyard. Image © BIG

As Bjarke Ingels describes, the typology “that has dominated Toronto development over the last decades is the tower and podium. What we’re trying to do is retain the street wall at a level familiar to King Street, and then have the peaks step back from there.”

Interior. Image © BIG
Interior. Image © BIG

Apartments will range from one to three bedrooms, offering a variety of layouts and private terraces. 


BIG is working with developers Westbank and Allied REIT on the project. 

Habitat 2.0 50 years after Moshe Safdie at King Street West, Toronto

A photo posted by Bjarke ingels (@bjarkeingels) on

News via The Globe and Mail

Cite: Karissa Rosenfield. "BIG Designs Moshe Safdie-Inspired Habitat for Toronto" 29 Feb 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Steven S Dornbusch · March 01, 2016

I do see a horrible downside to this scheme; the fatal engineering flaw in the original Habitat '67 was requiring each module to be able to handle the same potential massive load over a lower-placed unit. Safdie's graduate thesis worked on a "plug-in" frame concept, unlike Habitat, where a top unit would be made to potentially do the work of a bottom unit, a waste of structure, cost, and precious space within thick undulating exterior walls.
Safdie pointed out the need for a slit under balcony walls to lower winds; the architects have ignored that wisdom as well. Why not learn a couple good lessons from the past?
This new scheme could be realized with no stacking whatsoever, at a lower cost. For terraced housing ideas look at the work of Henri Sauvage, 30-50 years before Safdie's inspiring work.

Eric · March 01, 2016

"Moshe Sadie-Inspired" ????? It's a flat out knock off, and a bad one at that.

Małgorzata · March 01, 2016

Too many windows

Croco Dile · March 01, 2016

So much open spaces in Toronto where the Summer is short and Winter long and cold ?
A continuation of the mindless urban "planning".

Angus · March 01, 2016

We'll look back in 50 years and imagine how was it possible that people thought that this was ever a good idea.

Charles Boyd · February 29, 2016

this is kinda terrible


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Courtyard. Image © BIG

BIG 受摩西萨夫迪启发设计的多伦多住宅