Avi Friedman, Ph.D.
Professor of Architecture, McGill University
Avi Friedman began his architectural studies at the Politecnico di Milano in Italy, received his Bachelor of Architecture from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in 1980 (first in class/cum laude) and his Master of Architecture from McGill University in Montréal. Between 1982 and 1984, Dr. Friedman worked as head of design for a homebuilding firm in Montréal. He received his Doctorate in 1987 from the Université de Montréal. In 1988 he co-founded the Affordable Homes Program, at the McGill School of Architecture, where he is a Professor.
Dr. Friedman’s research interests focus on factors which influence the design and implementation of affordable and sustainable building practices at the unit and community levels, including market acceptance, construction, and resource efficiency. He is the recipient of the Progressive Architecture Research Award, the J.-Armand-Bombardier Prize for Technological Innovation, and the Manning Innovation Award of Distinction.
Avi Friedman has published extensively in both academic and trade publications. He has authored seven books and numerous peer-reviewed articles on subjects ranging from prefabrication and construction technology to suburban planning and space management, for academic journals. He has been invited to address additional meetings in most of which he was a keynote speaker, in North America and Europe. Dr. Friedman is a member of the editorial board of architectural journals and authored research monographs and articles in trade publications in the US and Canada. Between 2000-2008, he wrote a bi-monthly syndicated column for the Canwest chain of daily newspapers with a readership of over 1 million.
Avi Friedman has designed three housing prototypes which were built as full-scale demonstration projects and which were then constructed by homebuilders in the private sector around the world. The Grow Home (co-designed with Witold Rybczynski), a narrow-front rowhouse, received immense media attention and has since been built in numerous communities across North America and Europe. The Next Home, also the subject of much positive media scrutiny, was incorporated into the design of communities in Canada and the U.K. La Casa a la Carta, presented in Mexico, was designed specifically for the developing world.
Dr. Friedman’s design work and projects have been cited in many books and have been covered extensively: on TV shows such as Good Morning America, Dream Builders and Stewart Brand’s How Buildings Learn (British Broadcasting Corporation), in magazines such as Popular Science, Architecture and Home, and in newspapers including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Examiner. Avi Friedman has been invited to speak on over 200 occasions at meetings of government officials, development authorities, university professors and students, homebuilders, architects and planners in locations as diverse as Dalian, Guadalajara, Prague, Las Vegas, Berlin and Haifa. He has received numerous awards for his design and teaching, including the American Institute of Architects Education Honors, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Collaborative Practice Award, and the prestigious Creative Achievement Award. In 1999 he received the World Habitat Award.
Avi Friedman is the President of Avi Friedman Consultants, Inc., a design firm with a focus on affordable and sustainable residential environments. Since 1981, he has designed single-family dwellings, affordable and sustainable communities, undertook urban renewal of towns, master planning of cities, conversion of industrial buildings into residences, and design of care facilities. His list of clients includes governments, cities and private sector enterprises.
Dr. Friedman served as a member of numerous boards and committees in government and trade, including the National Advisory Council on Energy Efficiency for Natural Resources Canada, and the National Housing Research Committee of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. He has also served on the juries of many design competitions.
In the year 2000 the international design magazine Wallpaper included Avi Friedman in its list of 10 people “most likely to change the way we live,” along with Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, and Sven Mattison, inventor of the Bluetooth computer chip. In the year 2004 he was referred to by Robert Scally, host of the television series The Innovators, as “the most influential housing innovator in the world.”
Avi Friedman lives in Montréal with his wife, Dr. Sorel Friedman, and his children, Paloma and Ben.