The massive, triple-towered building is topped by a sky garden that cantilevers perilously out over the towers' sides, and was the 76-year-old architect's first major project in Asia. Since its construction, Safdie has overseen the erection of a series of projects in the Far East which have solidified his status as the most important Israeli architect in the world today.
The AIA Gold Medal, awarded by the American Institute of Architects, is conferred "in recognition of a significant body of work of lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture."
Safdie's face was immortalized on a Canadian stamp issued two years ago, and two notable projects of his in Israel, part of the new Terminal 3 at Ben-Gurion International Airport and the Yitzhak Rabin Center, in Tel Aviv, grace stamps of the postal service in Israel. His buildings receive extensive coverage in both the popular and professional press in Israel and abroad, albeit not always with a generosity of spirit.
In late 2011, Safdie decided to close the Israeli branch of his office, which had operated in Jerusalem from 1970, and to focus his efforts on a new office in Singapore, for the sake of projects he is designing in the Far East.
His career has left a significant mark on Israeli architecture, due to projects including the reconstruction of the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem's Old City, the Mamilla quarter just outside of it, and the renovation of the Yad Vashem museum structure. His plans for the westwards enlargement of Jerusalem, known as "the Safdie Plan," were met with significant controversy and were eventually shelved.