Yona Friedman

Diane-Stewart (1)

Architect, urban planner and designer renown for his mobile architecture. 

Yona Friedman was born in 1923 in Budapest (Hungary) and lives and works in Paris (France). Yona Friedman was trained as an architect and rose to prominence with his manifesto L’Architecture Mobile and his idea for a different approach to urban growth with the Ville Spatiale from 1956. Working on the principles for the Ville Spatiale, Friedman aimed to provide maximum flexibility through huge ‘superstructures’ over existing cities and other locations. Future inhabitants were free to construct their dwellings within these structures.

In embracing the unpredictability of human behavior, he has always sought to provide people with the knowledge and structures to determine their own environment for living and to enhance their independence and self reliance, also in difficult situations like shanty towns. Among the means devised by Friedman were manuals that illustrate basic skills in the fields of architecture, urban planning and administration for the non-specialist. His many proposals for architectural projects are mainly intended to help and inspire people within the field and out; “to get people to think”.

Friedman’s ideas led him beyond architecture. His sphere of engagement broadened to include sociology, economics, mathematics, information science, planning, visual art and film-making. Although Friedman’s oeuvre would seem to encompass a wide field, all his life he has adhered to principles based on the requirement of individual freedom and responsible use of the environment. Friedman’s work consists mainly of proposals set out in drawings and models, and ideas and theories formulated and illustrated in publications, speeches and films. Friedman also gained recognition for his artwork.