An influential French architect and urban designer, Yona Friedman was born in Budapest, Hungary, and he has passed away at the age of 96.
He rose to international prominence in the early 1960s with his 1956 manifesto L’Architecture Mobile (Mobile Architecture), advocating for an empowerment of the inhabitants by the built environment, and his visionary concept for La Ville Spatiale (the Spatial City). The influence of the Spatial City is vast and can be seen in the works of Archigram, Superstudio, and numerous artists, thinkers and designers.
He was also actively involved in the issue of housing in the Third World. In the 1970s, the United Nations and UNESCO commissioned him to assist with disaster-relief housing campaigns in Africa and India. He later developed simple manuals in the form of comic books that enabled people to make decisions about the design of their own living environment. Central themes in Friedman’s work are flexibility and individual freedom.
Friedman’s work has been shown at countless exhibitions including the Venice Biennale (2003, 2005, 2009) and Shanghai Biennale (2007), and his drawings are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and at Paris’s Centre Pompidou.
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