On February 23, French architect Yona Friedman was announced as the awardee of the Austrian Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture. The award, named for Austrian-born artist and architect Friedrich Kiesler, is granted biennially by the City of Vienna and Republic of Austria and awards €55,000 prize (approximately $67,000) for innovative achievements in the fields of architecture and the arts. Previous award winners include Frank Gehry, Judith Berry, and Lise Anne Couture and Hani Rashid.
Yona Friedman was born in Budapest in 1923, fled to Israel during World War II, and ultimately moved to Paris in 1957. Friedman’s views of architecture are linked to the physical and ideological traits of social structures and the diversity of users’ needs. Due to his own refugee background, Friedman is deeply attached to human architecture and the rising issue of migrant nomadism in European and global contexts. As quoted in the Friedrich Kiesler Foundation’s press release, Friedman describes his approach as one that believes “that ideas can be more important than objects themselves. An approach that goes back 2,500 years but is often forgotten…”
Friedman’s work has been exhibited at the Shanghai and Venice Biennales, as well as in cultural institutions across Europe. His canon of work includes the 1958 manifesto, L’Architecture Mobile (Mobile Architecture), which advanced new spatial-concepts of urban living.
The exact date of the award ceremony is yet to be determined.