Farzad Bagherzdeh Evokes a Sense of Wonder at Habitat 67

Farzad Bagherzdeh Evokes a Sense of Wonder at Habitat 67

Before coming to Canada, I had always been fascinated by Habitat 67,” explains architectural photographer Farzad Bagherzdeh of Nimkat Studio. “This residential complex holds a significant place in Canadian architectural history, representing modern living in a unique and innovative way. For me, capturing this project was an opportunity to witness firsthand the legacy it has left behind.”

Today, Farzad is taking us to the puzzle-like complex in Montreal, Canada by architect Moshe Safdie.

“What makes Habitat 67 special to me is not just its architectural brilliance but also its ability to evoke a sense of wonder and admiration. Even after 50 years since its inception, the project’s design and concept remain remarkable. One of the things that struck me during my time there was the way people perceive Habitat 67. Many residents of Montreal liken walking through its courtyard to being inside one of Escher’s paintings. This simple intersection of art and architecture is what makes this project feel truly special to me,” he says.

I really admire Farzad’s approach to this project and how he strived to photograph the building in a different context than most of the images that already exist. These perspectives – and limitations – are what sets the project apart!

He shares, “In the summers, student tours are organized for people to visit Habitat 67. However, I noticed a lack of photographs of Habitat 67 during the winter season. This inspired me to take advantage of the opportunity winter presented. Spending three days photographing this landmark, I encountered the challenges of enduring the brutal -20°C weather. At times, it was incredibly difficult to keep my mind focused.

Additionally, taking pictures of Habitat 67 was forbidden due to privacy reasons, allowing photography only from the street. Despite this restriction, I couldn’t resist the temptation to explore further and decided to enter the private yard one day. With haste and fear, I captured multiple photos of the courtyard handheld. Moments later, a security guard approached me. Fortunately, he was understanding and guided me outside without incident. However, the harsh Montreal winter proved to be less forgiving than the security guard.”

Farzad says, “I believe each picture in this set holds equal significance; there is no single prominent image. During the shoot, I found myself eagerly waiting for the sun to cast its quality light, despite the challenges of the cold winter weather. However, I feel that three days were not sufficient to fully capture the essence of this landmark. There are numerous aspects and timelines that can be picked to demonstrate the nature of Habitat 67, both from ground-level and aerial perspectives.”

The warm glow of the sun on the facade looks so nice against the cool blue tones of the snow and sky. Just lovely!

That “quality light” Farzad mentioned is evident here. Look at the way the interplay of light and shadow carves out the shapes and the Escher-like appearance of the building’s forms.

As the time of day shifts to evening, cooler, more moody scenes unfold. There is a forlorn and quiet air about the building, adding to its mysterious air.

Many thanks to Farzad for sharing this excellent project with us! What a cool series!

Find more of Farzad’s work at nimkat.ca and on Instagram @nimkat.ca.

If you have a project you’d like to be considered for Project of the Week, you can submit it here.

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