Cover Image: If Walls Could Speak

If Walls Could Speak

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I honestly was not aware of who Moshe Safdie was. I saw this book and looked him up, and wowzers, I recognized quite a few iconic buildings that he designed and was stunned that he was the architect behind them, so I just had to read this. He states in the Acknowledgments section that, "This memoir is primarily a chronicle of my life as an architect. Although by necessity it touches on many personal details, its focus is on the making of architecture." He isn't wrong. This book is his memoir, starting at his childhood in Israel and following him as he moved and started designing what would become statement buildings that defied modern conventions of brick and mortar, and made the buildings become almost alive with possibilities of combining suburban life and urban nature in ways that haven't been done before. He's truly a creative genius. I was even surprised to see that he mentioned meeting Paul Rudolph, a name with historical meaning where I live, and I can see how easily one could be influenced in that field with Moshe Safdie leading the way. I found this book to be very informative of not only how he began in thinking and shaping his vision, but also the bumps and bruises along the way. I never knew that in his field, most projects were won by contests that cost quite a bit of money, time, and talent. It isn't surprising, but not being in that field, I was unaware of that aspect. A brilliant memoir of the humility of a man who continues to push the envelope of what our living spaces could be while still defining his own role in the field.
*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my own opinion*
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I've visited a few places designed by Moshe Safdie, and I was very excited to see his memoir available on NetGelley! In short, the book is great if, like me, you enjoy reading memoirs and have an interest in architecture.

If Walls Could Speak covers the life of Moshe Safdie, the six decades as an architect in particular, in chronological order. As an Israeli, Safdie also includes some discussion over his views on history, culture, politics, and their relationship with his career in the book. 

I have visited Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Marina Bay Sands and Jewel Airport in Singapore, and I really enjoy those chapters in particular. At the same time, one part I like a lot is Safdie's comments on his works and the stories behind them. The book also includes a chapter talking about the "What If?" in architectural design which I find interesting to summarize the book.

Despite my limited knowledge of renowned architects and their works, it is a delightful journey to explore different phases of Safdie's career across the Americas and Asia (and his mentors, of course). The book is well-written with photos and archives from past projects. Definitely would be a plus if you have the chance to acquire a physical copy!
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