Moshe Safdie

Moshe Safdie

A weeklong electronic journal.
Feb. 11 1998 3:30 AM

Moshe Safdie

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       I must be in Los Angeles tomorrow for meetings concerning the extension to the Skirball Cultural Center. I completed the center two years ago, and it has been a great success. Now the supporters of the project have decided to add a "great hall" for multipurpose events, expand the museum, and build underground parking.



       Though my schedule has been horrendous, I decided to leave a day early and travel to San Diego to see my daughter Taal, her husband Ricardo, and my two grandsons--Ariel (8) and Rafael (5)--whom I have not seen in months.

       The six-hour flight to Los Angeles is like a minivacation. I spread out, working with pen and color pastels in my sketchbook. I am focused on the Sikh memorial museum, searching for a climactic experience for the future visitors. The chief minister of Punjab had visited my Children's Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem and was deeply moved. "We too have suffered," he told me, "and we hope you can create for us our special moment of memory."

       Six hours to myself are precious. There is enough time to read an article or two in Scientific American and the New York Review of Books, and then some for a movie from the film library--L.A. Confidential. The contrasts among my worlds amaze me. The spirit of the Sikhs, the Holocaust memorial, an article on M and string theories in physics, and the violence of the LAPD.

       My grandsons are all excited. Grandpa (Moshe Saba) and presents bought in Cambridge yesterday. What a joy. I visit the office where Taal and Ricardo practice architecture together, and we discuss their new projects (and mine)!

       And as always there is good food as the centerpiece of family festivities--a kind of ritual of talk, wine, and eating.

       These moments alone and with family make me wonder about the rhythms of my life--at least half of it is traveling--a nomad architect on three continents. How best to manage life between incredible opportunities to build and the essential routines of daily life?

Moshe Safdie is an architect with offices in Boston, Jerusalem, and Toronto, and the author, most recently, of The City After the Automobile (1997).