Bringing a 50-year masterpiece to digital life

In the early 1960s, a 23-year-old audacious McGill University architectural student submitted his master’s thesis, a novel, mixed-use community, to the Montreal Expo 67. The result was Habitat 67, and the architect became internationally renowned. The architect was Moshe Safdie.

Moshe Safdie designed the 1000-unit high-quality housing for a dense Montreal urban environment. One of the first mixed-use concepts for the time, Habitat 67 incorporated residential units, office spaces, hotels, schools, museums, and more into its self-contained community. This practice is commonplace now, but at the time, it was a radical break from the current architectural practices. Another novel idea was prefabricated apartments assembled on-site. And each apartment included a roof garden and natural lighting.

Unfortunately, the built Habitat was scaled back to 158 residences, less than half the original size. Despite being a landmark in architectural history and inspiring countless architects, Habitat 67 is primarily considered an unfinished dream.

What if Habitat 67 had completed the original design? Now you can find out. The creative agency Neoscape, in collaboration with Safdie Architects, has illustrated the original project digitally.

Using Unreal Engine 5, The Hillside Sample Project is a virtual recreation of Moshe Safdie’s original vision for Habitat 67, made with Unreal Engine and RealityCapture.

The model was built in Rhino and 3ds Max using basic materials and then imported into Unreal Engine 5 using Datasmith.

The model is available for anyone to explore via the Hillside Sample Project.

Learn more details and explore the walkthrough


Posted Nov 07, 2023 by Sandy McNeel on Rhino News, etc.

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