Yona Friedman is 2018 Kiesler Prize laureate

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Yona Friedman

Yona Friedman was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1923 and lives and works in Paris. He studied at the Technical University in Budapest (Budapesti Műszaki és Gazdaságtudományi Egyetem) and in Haifa. His work has spanned areas ranging from architecture, art and animated film to education and writing. He has participated in numerous art biennials including Shanghai, Venice and Documenta 11. His highly visionary ideas have nurtured various generations of architects and urbanists, influencing groups such as Archigram and even Kenzo Tange, who declared as such in 1970 in Osaka.

In 1956 he published L'architecture mobile, his manifesto which conceived of an urban structure on piles, appropriate for spaces where building is not possible or permitted. This also became the foundational document of the GEAM, Groupe d'étude d'architecture mobile. He created urban concepts such as the Spatial City, based on the free organisation of a city by citizens using low-cost mobile and reusable modules. In 1965 he founded, together with Ionel Schein, Walter Jonas and others, the GIAP, Groupe International d'Architecture Prospective.

From the 1960’s he also became interested in animated film making which would lead him to propose a series of do-it-yourself construction manuals with simple pictograms addressing basic questions, which we could summarise under the title L´habitat c’est mon affaire. Comment habiter la terre (Habitat is my business: how to inhabit the earth). These were edited by the United Nations and given broad distribution in India, South America and Africa.

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