|Birth Day:||June 5, 1923|
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He escaped the Nazis during World War II and lived for 10 years in Israel before moving to Paris.
Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1923, into an ethnic Jewish family, which posed him problems because of the anti-Semitic quota laws at universities, Friedman survived the Second World War escaping the Nazi roundups of Jews, and lived for about a decade in the city of Haifa in Israel, before moving permanently to Paris in 1957. He became a French citizen in 1966.
In 1956, at the Xth International Congress of Modern Architecture in Dubrovnik, his "Manifeste de l'architecture mobile" contributed to question definitely the daring will planning to architectural design and urbanism. It was during that conference, and thanks especially to the youth of the Team 10, that "mobile architecture" was coined in the sense of "mobility of living." With the example of "Ville spatiale", Friedman set out – for the first time – the principles of an architecture capable of understanding the constant changes that characterize the "social mobility" and based on "infrastructure" that provide housing. Planning rules could be created and recreated, according to the need of the inhabitants and residents. Its focus on people themselves arises from its direct experience of homeless refugees, first in European cities facing war and disaster and later in Israel, where, in the early years of the State, thousands of people landed every day, with housing problems .
In 1958, Friedman founded the Groupe d'études de architecture mobile (GEAM) which dissolved in 1962. In 1963, he developed the idea of a city bridge and participated actively in the cultural climate and utopian architecture of the 1960s known as the "Age of megastructures". From the mid nineteen sixties on he taught at MIT, and Princeton, Harvard and Columbia universities. In the following decade he worked for the United Nations and UNESCO through the dissemination of self-building manuals in African countries, South America and India. Despite the perennial utopian label, Friedman said: "I have always tried, in architectural studies, to develop projects that were feasible." In 1978, he was commissioned to design the Lycée Bergson in Angers, France, completed in 1981. On this occasion he published a procedure in which the distribution and arrangement of all the architectural elements were designed and decided by future users. Because even non-professionals can understand and apply his method, he wrote also how to comics. Interest in the issue of participation brought Friedman's work to the attention of architects like Giancarlo De Carlo and Bernard Rudofsky.
In 1958, Yona Friedman published his first manifesto : "Mobile architecture". It describes a new kind of mobility not of the buildings, but for the inhabitants, who are given a new freedom.
In 1987, in Madras, India, Friedman completed the Museum of Simple Technology in which the principles of self-construction from local materials such as bamboo were applied. He also authored books dealing with technical subjects (For a scientific architecture, Workshop 1975), sociological (L'architecture du survie, L'éclat 2003) and epistemological (L'univers erratique , PUF 1994). The book that best represents, however, Friedman's ethics and spirit is perhaps "Utopies Réalisables (French for feasible utopias), published in France in 1975 and also published in Italian (Quodlibet 2003) describing a project to restructure our society in a genuine democratic way, seeking to escape any elitism through the theory of the critical group. The book is also a fierce critique of the myth of global communication. From the book: "The analysis of social utopias presented in this book implies, implicitly in the act of accusation and criticism of these two 'plagues' of our times which are: 'the state mafia' and the 'media mafia' (press, television etc.). The existence of a state mafia results from the impossibility of the classic democratic state to keep the shape once its size exceeds certain limits, and the 'media mafia' is a direct result of the same inability in global communication ( Worldwide). The Internet can be used as an example of this inability, which is not the result of technical difficulties but rather stems from the fundamental human inability to communicate universally (from all to all). The failure of these two generous utopias, democracy and the 'global communication' between men, logically leads to the formation of gangs who act on our behalf against our interests. As well as an indictment, this book will simultaneously be an act of encouragement: the individual should be encouraged not to offer their help or their tacit consent to these two gangs. It is not a call for revolution, but a call to resistance. "
Currently, Yona Friedman is 98 years, 11 months and 17 days old. Yona Friedman will celebrate 99th birthday on a Sunday 5th of June 2022.
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