Moshe Safdie at the Brattle Theatre
If Walls Could Speak:
My Life in Architecture
in conversation with YO-YO MA
November 2, 2022
6:00 PM ET
(Doors at 5:30 PM)
40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 02138
There will not be a standby line for this event.
Harvard Book Store welcomes award-winning architect MOSHE SAFDIE for a discussion of his highly anticipated new book If Walls Could Speak: My Life in Architecture. He will be joined in conversation by award-winning cellist YO-YO MA.
Please Note: This event is now sold out.
A Return to In-Person Events
Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Brattle Theatre events until further notice:
- Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the venue. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth. At venues where refreshments are served, attendees may briefly unmask when actively eating or drinking.
- Attendance is capped so as to allow for some social distancing in the venue.
For the time being, we will not be holding author signings at these events, in order to limit close contact. When possible, we will have pre-signed books available for purchase on-site.
Each ticket includes one hardcover copy of If Walls Could Speak: My Life in Architecture.
Refund Policy: Please note that event ticket purchases are non-refundable and non-returnable.
About If Walls Could Speak
Over more than five decades, legendary architect Moshe Safdie has built some of the world’s most influential and memorable structures—from the 1967 modular housing scheme in Montreal known as “Habitat” and the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel, to the Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas and the Marina Bay Sands development and extraordinary Jewel Changi airport interior garden and waterfall in Singapore. For Safdie, the way a space functions is fundamental; he is deeply committed to architecture as a social force for good, believing that any challenge, including extreme population density and environmental distress, can be addressed with solutions that enhance community and uplift the human spirit. Safdie always refers to the “silent client” an architect must ultimately serve: the people who live in, work in, or experience a building.
If Walls Could Speak takes readers behind the veil of an essential yet mysterious profession to explain through Safdie’s own experiences how an architect thinks and works—“from the spark of imagination through the design process, the model-making, the politics, the engineering, the materials.” Relating memorable stories about what has inspired him—from childhoods in Israel and Montreal to the projects and personalities worldwide that have captured his imagination—Safdie reveals the complex interplay that underpins every project and his vision for the role architecture can and should play in society at large. Illustrated throughout with drawings, sketches, photographs, and documents from his firm’s voluminous archives that illuminate his stories, If Walls Could Speak ends with a chapter outlining seven projects Safdie would pursue around the world if resources and will were no issue and the choices were his to make.
A book like no other, If Walls Could Speak will forever change the way you look at and appreciate any built structure.
Praise for If Walls Could Speak
“If Walls Could Speak is not just about architecture; it is about a man in search of beauty, truth, and service to people through examining ‘nature, the nature of the universe, and the nature of man.’ In his autobiography, Moshe Safdie succeeds in making the walls speak, revealing not only the depth, curiosity, and drive of a man with a mission, but also the challenges he faced creating extraordinary work for more than five decades. Perhaps he says it best: ‘If we seek truth, we shall find beauty.’ I was profoundly moved reading this book.” —Yo-Yo Ma
“What are the deep personal sources of creativity? How is it possible for someone to take the conventional built environment and make it new? A visionary book, If Walls Could Speak triumphantly answers these questions by giving us intimate access to the life and mind of one of the greatest architects of our time.” —Stephen Greenblatt, Pulitzer-prize-winning author of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
“Moshe Safdie makes beautiful and important buildings. He makes buildings that envelop, soothe and invigorate you. He makes buildings that infuse into your day and life a sense that bigger things might suddenly be possible. He makes buildings that—whether you have driven past his landmark Habitat in Montreal, toured an exhibit in his searing Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem, or spent the night in his epic Marina Sands Hotel—you will never, ever forget. What is remarkable about If Walls Could Speak is that Safdie’s memoir is as unforgettable as anything he has produced out of stone, cement and steel. Safdie takes us on a gripping journey through the stirrings and challenges that gave rise to buildings that have changed whole communities and even nations. But If Walls Could Speak is much more than the memoir of a legendary architect; because of Safdie’s storytelling gifts, it is also a coming-of-age story, a tale of rebellion and redemption, and an inspiring tour of the better part of the last century, in which questions of place, community, and identity collided, and in which one man developed a vision for how he could do his part to improve the experience of living.” —Samantha Power, former United Nations ambassador and bestselling author of The Education of an Idealist
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 10 minutes
As you exit the station, cross Mass. Ave. and proceed along Brattle St. Follow Brattle St. as it curves to the right in Brattle Square (follow the sidewalk on the right side of the street). The Brattle will be on the left-hand side of the street. The building is shared with Algiers Cafe and Alden & Harlow Restaurant, and the theatre entrance is on the left side of the building—look for the sidewalk poster case and marquee.
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