The iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel complex in Singapore is held up high by three 55-story buildings. The iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel complex in Singapore is held up high by three 55-story buildings. The iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel complex in Singapore is held up high by three 55-story buildings. (Photo: Everything / Shutterstock)

Who's the architect behind these eye-popping buildings?

You may not know his name, but his buildings are nothing short of memorable.

Imagine the world’s longest pool, outdoors, atop a 55-story building overlooking a beautiful modern marina. Surrounding the pool, there is a vibrant park lined with trees, restaurants and a running course. Sounds impossible? Not if Moshe Safdie is behind it.

Moshe SafdieMoshe Safdie (Photo: Stephen Kelly)

Safdie, a world-renowned architect, is the recipient of the American Institute of Architects 2015 Gold Medal, the highest award in architecture. Safdie joins Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn and Santiago Calatrava as a honoree.

The Israel-born, Canada-raised, U.S.-educated Safdie has had a remarkable career of more than 40 years. He's a modernist at heart, as can be easily seen from the mega-structures he designed in places such as Singapore, China, the U.S. and Israel.

Let’s go back to that pool in the sky. It is nestled comfortably atop the now-iconic Marina Bay Sands casino and hotel complex in Singapore, supported by three 55-story buildings. The reason Safdie insisted on three separate buildings rather than one was to allow "windows" for the city's residents to keep their view of the ocean. This is another example of Safdie's meticulous approach to architecture.

Rooftop infinity pool at Singapore's Marina Bay SandsRooftop infinity pool at Singapore's Marina Bay Sands (Photo: TILT Photography/Shutterstock)

One of his most recent designs, the Sky Habitat residential complex in Singapore, looks and feels like an expansion of his Habitat 67. The 38-story duo of buildings holds 600 apartments, almost all with a private terrace, offering multiple airflow exposures for every apartment. In Singapore’s monotonous, always-hot-always-humid climate, the cross-ventilation solutions in the Sky Habitat are most welcome.

It is only in recent years, though, that Safdie returned to his architectural roots of habitats and residential buildings. Through most of his long and distinguished career, he designed public spaces, mainly museums and libraries. The Salt Lake City Public Library is arguably his most famous design in America.

The Salk Lake City Public Library is one of Moshe Safdie's most famous design in America.The Salt Lake City Public Library is one of Moshe Safdie's most famous designs. (Photo: Safdie Architects)

Enclosed by a massive wall of curved glass overlooking a geometrical park and offering sunlight-drenched public spaces within the building, it contrasts enclosure and openness. Always conscious of his surroundings, Safdie included an elevated observation deck with views of the Wasatch Mountains.

His Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, is a cluster of shell-shaped structures connected with bridges over a lake, surrounded by forestry. The shells are held from inside by huge wooden arches that provide surprising warmth to the museum. Here again, Safdie twines together nature and urbanity in a flawless execution.

Changi Airport biodome project, SingaporeSingapore's Changi (Jewel) Airport has hired Moshe Safdie to design a $1.5 billion, five-story biodome. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

It seems that Safdie's career is nowhere near winding down. His current, mega-ambitious project is the Jewel Airport in Singapore, set to open in 2017. Safdie promises that it will “redefine what airports are all about.” From the looks of it so far, it sure will. It is a glass-and-steel 10-story massive building with five stories above ground and five below. Amid the terminal buildings are enormous gardens, built one on top of the other, with an incredible 130-foot waterfall in the middle that flows from the transparent, curved roof.

The Jewel Airport is set to become a destination on its own. Who knows – maybe, for the first time in history, delayed flights will be welcomed with cheers from passengers.

biodome inside, Singapore airportThe biodome's garden at the Singapore airport will comprise the top floor of the five-story complex. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)


Photos and SlideshowsPhotos and Slideshows

Related Topics: Architecture