Yona Friedman’s “People’s Architecture” Inhabits Space Using Hula Hoops


Courtesy of Yona Friedman

Courtesy of Yona Friedman

Architect and theorist Yona Friedman has brought his playful “People’s Architecture” installations to Rome’s MAXXI Museum, Paris’s Les Halles and Denmark where they were recently assembled in a workshop at the Danish Association for Architects. Built using plastic hula hoops, each installation is assembled spontaneously, creating new variations of space with each turn. Says Friedman: “Architecture for people proposes a variant of the original “Ville Spatial.” It is based on a structure easy to modify, a structure not necessarily raised over ground level, keeping that option open if wanted.”

Fun with elephants and architecture doodles. #yonafriedman

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People's Architecture at the Danish Architects Association @arkitektforeningen in Copenhagen with @paper.magazine

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Friedman, now 94, is a lifelong advocate for playful, mobile architecture that grows through an elevated urban space and celebrates people living in homes that they design themselves – as “non-specialists” of architecture. His “Ville Spatial” visualizations are credited as one of the architect’s most important contributions (during an interview with Vladimir Belogolovsky) along with his 1958 manifesto for Mobile Architecture, which inspired avant-garde groups like the Japanese Metabolists and Archigram. On Ville Spatial Friedman describes the relationship with People’s Architecture: 


Courtesy of Yona Friedman

Courtesy of Yona Friedman

Its structure is the cubic variant of space chain structures. The cubes are assembled into bridge-like units, permitting free and variable design for the infrastructure itself. The same design method can be realized with units of assembled dodecahedra, combinable also with cubic ones. The original “Ville Spatiale” was conceived for settlements of very high habitation density. The modified variant is adapted also to very small settlements.


Courtesy of Yona Friedman

Courtesy of Yona Friedman

Courtesy of Yona Friedman

Courtesy of Yona Friedman

Friedman’s theories continue to stay relevant today, with migration, nomadic populations and housing crises universal issues for the global population: 

My guess for architecture and settlements of the coming century is an orientation for more diluted forms of habitat, both because modern technology substitutes virtual communication to the precedent lifestyle of physical motion, both socially and in economical sense. Desire to live with nature and with less neighbours favourises a coming “techno-nature” habitat. The variant here proposed strives towards that ideal.

The “Mobile Architecture, People’s Architecture“ exhibition is currently running in Rome’s MAXXI Museum until October 21.

In the @museomaxxi Ville Spatiale with @juliette_po. Grazie mille a tutti!

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News via: Yona Friedman.

Interview with Yona Friedman: “Imagine, Having Improvised Volumes ‘Floating’ In Space, Like Balloons”

At 92 years of age, for his entire career Yona Friedman has occupied an unusual spot within the architecture world; his signature concept, the Ville Spatiale which he first proposed in 1956, combines the top-down megastructural thinking visible in later projects such as Archigram’s Plug-In City with a total freedom for occupants to design and build their own homes within the structure.

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