What started as a student project more than four decades ago has now been designated a heritage site by the Quebec government.

Architect Moshe Safdie's Habitat '67, a collection of condo cubes, has long been an internationally heralded building. It was featured in the Will Ferrell movie "Blades of Glory," as the housing for athletes taking part in a competition.

"I'm feeling like a Grandpapa! It's very moving for me," said Safdie about the designation. "What's the most exciting thing for me is that it's a living community. There's people living here who are passionate about this and I'm very moved by the government's action to classify the building and protect it."

He came up with the idea when he was 25, for a final project for McGill University's Architecture school. The building is now 42 years old.

Culture minister Christine St. Pierre designated the exterior of the building a heritage site, but not the interior because they are privately owned condos and it would be too difficult to maintain authenticity.

However, Safdie owns two of the condos, and says he will refurbish those and is considering giving them as a gift to a public or cultural body so that they will be available to the public, and possibly for use by students or visiting scholars.