Saturday, March 28, 2009

Habitat Classified Historic Monument

Habitat, the iconic apartment complex in Montreal's Cité du Havre, has been classified as a historic monument by Quebec's Ministry of Culture.
The move comes 42 years after the tumbled building block complex was erected as an prototype housing development for Expo 67.
Architect Moshe Safdie, who designed Habitat as an unheralded 25-year-old, was on hand for the announcement.
Safdie still owns two 10th-floor apartments in Habitat. He was on hand for the announcement in Montreal yesterday. According to La Presse, he used the opportunity to announce that he plans to donate his apartments to an unspecified "public institution" to allow the general public to visit and appreciate the development.
Habitat consists of one- and two-storey apartments created out of precast concrete boxes that were staggered in three pyramids.
The 355 cubes created 148 apartments, each with a private terrace built on the roof of the unit below. The idea was to marry the tranquility and greenery of the 'surbs with the high-density housing needs of the city.
Built as a prototype "affordable" housing community, Habitat is now one the city's most chic addresses. There are 14 units currently on the market, ranging in price from $479,000 for two bedrooms to $858,000 for a three-bedroom. Two more are for rent, starting at $4,500 a month for a two-bedroom.
The historic designation, which covers the exterior of the building, as well as Safdie's apartments, means that Habitat's management can now apply for government funding for needed restorations.
If you'd like to get a peek inside, the design school of UQAM is organizing a free guided visit of Habitat next Saturday. You can register here

UPDATE I signed up for the UQAM-organized tour of Habitat. Sadly, I just received an email from someone at the university explaining that the automated registration system that was supposed to cap registrations at 40 has messed up and reserved places for many, many, too many people. Sadly, I didn't make the cut. Rats.

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