Yona Friedman (1923–2020)

Text: György Szegő

The architect and thinker of Hungarian origin, Yona Friedman (Friedmann János) died in his 96 year in February 2020. He was one of the outstanding and exceptionally versatile figures of the urban architectural discourse that developed in the second half of the twentieth century. He drew cities on colossal trusses rising up, floating above metropolises, rivers or marshes, bridges connecting four continents, multi-storeyed urban gardens, residential quarters from water mains elements; in his comic strip manuals he provided directions on survival for those in difficult situations, proclaiming that instead of architects, everyone should plan and build their own home. Friedman was born in Budapest in 1923. He left Hungary in 1945 and went first to Israel before settling in Paris, where he still lives today. He also taught for a longer time at universities in the USA, and has participated in the work of humanitarian organisations all over the world. He became internationally known at the end of the 1950s with his radical ideas on mobile architecture and the ville spatiale (approximately, the spatial, floating city) and his influential writings.