Designers aren’t just using Unreal Engine to preview buildings — they’re using it to complete buildings that were never fully realized. Neoscape and Safdie Architects have released Hillside Sample Project, a virtual rendition of Moshe Safdie’s original vision for Montreal’s brutalist Habitat 67 housing complex. The modular, floating pyramid structures are clearly the highlight, but there’s also exceptional detail elsewhere — you can see complete interiors, lush plant life along the walkways and the distinctive Montreal landscape.
A young Safdie designed Habitat 67 for Montreal’s 1967 World’s Fair, also known as Expo 67. It was meant to combine the advantages of suburbia (such as gardens and multi-level housing) with the affordability and density of apartments. The affordability didn’t pan out, and Safdie ended up producing a smaller-scale version for the fair. Habitat 67 ultimately launched Safdie’s career, though, and it’s still one of the better-known landmarks in the city.
You have a few options for exploring the complex. You can watch a video if you just want a quick overview, but you can also navigate a 3D space using either Google Chrome or a downloadable app. The interactive models let you either roam freely or have Safdie guide you through the project with narration at key points.
This probably won’t sell you on a new home when the currently available Habitat 67 units sell for about $1 million CAD and beyond. However, it does illustrate the potential for real-time 3D renditions of architectural work. They can help pitch building concepts where canned artistic renders and physical mock-ups might not be sufficiently convincing.