The 1967 International and Universal Exposition or Expo 67, as it was commonly known, was a general exhibition, Category One World's Fair held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, from April 27 to October 29, 1967. It is considered to be the most successful World's Fair of the 20th century with the most attendees to that date and 62 nations participating. It also set the single-day attendance record for a world's fair, with 569,500 visitors on its third day.
Expo 67 featured 90 pavilions representing Man and His World themes, nations, corporations, and industries including the U.S. pavilion, a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. The expo also featured the Habitat 67 modular housing complex designed by architect Moshe Safdie, which was later purchased by private individuals and is still occupied.
The geodesic dome, also known as the Montreal Biosphere, was originally formed by an enclosed structure of steel and acrylic cells, 249 ft in diameter and 203 ft high. The dome is a Class 1, Frequency 16 Icosahedron. The sun-shading system was an attempt by the architect to reflect the same biological processes that the human body relies on to maintain its internal temperature. Fuller's original idea for the geodesic dome was to incorporate "pores" into the enclosed system, further likening it to the sensitivity of human skin, but the shading system failed to work properly and was eventually disabled.
In the afternoon of 20 May 1976, during structural renovations, a fire burned away the building's transparent acrylic bubble, but the hard steel truss structure remained.
Architects from Golden Metak Productions designed the interior exhibition space. Visitors had access to four themed platforms divided into seven levels. The building included a 37-metre-long escalator, the longest ever built at the time. The Minirail monorail ran through the pavilion.
Habitat 67 is a model community and housing complex comprised of 354 identical, prefabricated concrete forms arranged in various combinations, reaching up to 12 stories in height. It was designed by Israeli/Canadian architect Moshe Safdie and built as a pavilion for Expo 67. Together these units create 146 residences of varying sizes and configurations, each formed from one to eight linked concrete units.
The development was designed to integrate the benefits of suburban homes—namely gardens, fresh air, privacy, and multi leveled environments—with the economics and density of a modern urban apartment building. It was believed to illustrate the new lifestyle people would live in increasingly crowded cities around the world. Safdie's goal for the project to be affordable housing largely failed: demand for the building's units has made them more expensive than originally envisioned.