Moshe Safdie

Moshe Safdie

A weeklong electronic journal.
Feb. 10 1998 3:30 AM

Moshe Safdie

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       This has been a weekend of regrouping and recuperation. Architectural projects can take anywhere from three to six years from conception to realization. City design projects can take a decade or more. As a result, I am involved in perhaps a dozen projects at once. There are, however, rarely more than two or three projects in the conceptual-design phase.

       This has changed recently as a number of new commissions have come in almost at once. We are designing with two other firms the new $2-billion Toronto International Airport. We recently began work on the national museum of the Sikhs in Punjab. We won the competition for the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem and are also working on a Yitzhak Rabin memorial archive and library in Tel Aviv. Most recently we were selected to design the Orlando Performing Arts Center.

       All these projects are filling my sketchbook at once as I jump from project to project. Many balls in the air.

       Last week I traveled first to Toronto to present designs to the Airport Authority. From there I went to Orlando for the launching of the project. I met with the mayor, made a presentation to the council, and was briefed about the program and the site. Then back to Toronto to learn that major program issues had been changed due to the demands of the airlines, all requiring reconsideration and redesigning.



       Having been gone all week, I mobilized my Boston office on Saturday. We brainstormed on the airport and outlined the work to be done for a meeting this coming Thursday in New York. I have reviewed the sketches I made while traveling in airplanes during the week for the Sikh museum with my colleagues as we contemplated the clay models that had been made during the week in the office. There were faxes to be answered from the Jerusalem office and letters that demanded responses. With another team I worked on the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass.

       Sunday was quieter. I spent some time with my daughter Yasmin and had a good jog. Listened to music and sketched at leisure, preparing for another week of almost constant travel. This week I will go to San Diego, Los Angeles, and New York. The faxes of design studies will be chasing me as I travel.

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