Transitional Architectures #3: Thinking, working and writing with Yona Friedman


Collective learning and cross media practices

Manuel Orazi, Architectural Historian and Professor at the University of Ferrara

Manuel, in conversation with Tom Avermaete, will talk about his position regarding the history of architecture and the city, drawn from his research work and recently published book “Yona Friedman – The Dilution of Architecture” which Manuel defines as a collective publishing project. This book is a result of the long collaboration between himself and Yona Friedman.

During his long career, Yona Friedman, Hungarian-born architect, has crossed three continents, and his nine decades are marked with the tragic and exciting history of the 20th and 21st centuries. He regularly disappeared and reappeared in differing contexts and disciplines, for example from Palestine/Israel to Post-war France, or teaching different users in the US to design or redesign their spaces using the computer program “Flatwriter”, developed at MIT in 1973. He was always seen as an eccentric theorist and practitioner. In the seventies he began collaborative work with institutions, such as UN agencies, on complex territories: India, Africa and South America. Sociology, physics and poor technology are only some of the “new languages” that Friedman proposed and used to dilute architecture with ordinary people, and his colleagues’ architects. He has been in conversations with some of the most interesting architects of the 20th century, such as Georges Candilis, Bernard Rudofsky, Giancarlo De Carlo.

Manuel Orazi graduated in 2001 at IUAV University with a thesis in ‘History of the city’, under the tutorship of Donatella Calabi. In 2007 he obtained a PhD in History of Architecture and of Cities at the Foundation for Advanced Studies in Venice (SSAV) with his dissertation: “The Erratic Universe of Yona Friedman,”, under the supervision of Marco De Michelis. He has undertaken studies in Tel Aviv in 2004, as well as Paris between 2004 and 2006. Since 2002 he has been working for the publishing house Quodlibet based in Macerata, where he is editing architectural literature. He regularly writes for the magazines “Log” and “Domus” as well as a variety of Italian newspapers. In 2014 he edited the seminar “Architecture in Translation” and “The Mediation of Social and Urban Spaces” in collaboration with Siri Nergaard, at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia, curated by Rem Koolhaas who also participated in the discussion.


Transitional Architectures is a series of events exploring the capacity of architecture to shift between, merge and even reconfigure different media practices. Sliding from interventions in urban and natural environments to algorithmic and studio modelling, performing, curating and writing, the series probes into the methodological threads of architectural thinking. Through a series of hybrid events invited presenters and participants will engage in processes of exchange, experimentation and mutual learning. Our aim is to explore how cross media practices of different spatial contexts are able to first initiate and then leave behind an open space of re-action and co-creation.

The series of Transitional Architectures is organized by the chairs of ‘Methods and Analysis’ and ‘Explore Lab’ of the TU Delft, in collaboration with TU Delft students and professors, but also with artists, architects and researchers with diverse practical, educational and institutional backgrounds.

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