Blueprint Award for Critical Thinking 2015
Winner: Yona Friedman
Nominated and voted for by Blueprint readers
Yona Friedman is a Hungarian-born French architect, urban planner and designer, who is still working and brimming with utopian ideas at the age of 92. The titles of past catalogues and publications reveal the consistent social ambition of his long and ongoing career: realisable utopias, alternative energy, architecture with the people, by the people, for the people.
Born in Budapest in the early Twenties, Friedman's Jewish heritage meant that he was only able to study architecture with special permission. He joined the resistance during the Second World War, was imprisoned by the Gestapo and learned the value of 'an architecture of survival'. He completed his architecture studies in the new nation of Israel, where he won commissions to build housing, but where his unconventional thinking failed to find favour. Following a successful reception at CIAM X in 1956, the last meeting of the famous modernist congress, Friedman sought work and guidance in Amsterdam and Paris, finding support from Le Corbusier and Jean Prouvé. The ideas of megastructural space-frames and mobile architecture, for which Friedman is best known, evolved around this time.
Since 1958 Friedman has published hundreds of papers and 35 books. For the past few decades he has been somewhat overlooked in architectural culture but has recently found a resurgence of interest from the art world. Friedman continues to work on projects, books and new ideas.
Category sponsored by Turkish Ceramics
Main image: David Vintiner