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Moshe Safdie wins architects’ gold medal

Moshe Safdie worked on the Pea-body Essex Museum update.
Moshe Safdie worked on the Pea-body Essex Museum update.

Somerville-based architect Moshe Safdie, 76, has been awarded the 2015 AIA Gold Medal by the American Institute of Architects. Considered the profession’s highest honor, the Gold Medal is given annually to an individual whose work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Born in Israel but headquartered in Boston since 1978, Safdie is in impeccable company, joining a list of notable Gold Medal winners, including Thomas Jefferson, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, I. M. Pei, and Thom Mayne. (Saf-die’s name will be chiseled alongside the others’ into the granite Wall of Honor at the AIA offices in Washington, D.C.) Safdie, who taught at Harvard for several years, is perhaps best known for Habitat 67, a Montreal housing complex he designed while he was a student at McGill University. A closer example of the celebrated architect’s work is the Peabody Essex Museum, which completed a major expansion and renovation in 2003.