Yona Friedman



The Hungarian-born French architect and urban planner Yona Friedman – perhaps the last of the great utopian masters of the 20th century – passed away in Paris on 21 February 2020 at the age of 96. After World War II, when being Jewish almost cost him his life, he moved to Haifa, in Palestine, and eventually to the Paris of avant-garde movements, in the circles of which he soon found himself. His major contribution was theoretical and came early on, and can be explained by the joint influence of Situationism and kinetic art: the ‘Manifeste de l’architecture mobile,’ published in 1958, where he called for the creation of megastructures over existing cities so that people would be able to organize their lives more flexibly. This was a promising and radical proposal that brought him into the company of other megastructuralists, such as Constant and the Archigram group, and which – as with these – was never materialized in any form beyond the many books, drawings, models, and films that Friedman produced and presented in biennials, magazines, and exhibitions in the course of his long and ultimately rather repetitive career.

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