Avi Friedman


Avi Friedman

Housing Guru

Acclaimed by Wallpaper magazine as “one of the top 10 style setters who will most influence the way we live in the next quarter century,” architect and professor Avi Friedman speaks with passion on the future of home and community design as it relates to sustainable development.

Friedman is the director of the Affordable Homes Research Group at the McGill School of Architecture, where he currently teaches, and is known nationally and internationally for his housing innovations—in particular for his “Grow Home” and “Next Home” designs.

His work has been published in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Popular Science magazine, among others, and has been featured on the ABC, BBC, CNN and HGTV networks. He is the author of many books, including Innovative Houses, Narrow Houses, Sustainable Residential Development, A Place in Mind: The Search for Authenticity and Planning Small and Mid-Sized Towns. Friedman is also a regular contributor to several trade and popular media outlets.

Friedman is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Progressive Architecture Research Award; the J. Armand-Bombardier Prize for Technological Innovation; the Manning Innovation Award of Distinction; The World Habitat Award and the Sustainable Building Canada Lifetime Achievement Award.

Designing Cities and Homes as Exercise Machines for Healthy Living

Inactivity has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a global concern. It can be argued that poor urban planning practices have largely contributed to lack of active lifestyles. Low density urban sprawl, long commutes, diminishing land for green areas and elimination of sidewalks from local streets have led to reduced activity, primarily among children. The need to reverse course and regard the community and the home as exercise machines is rapidly taking hold. The decline of community planning for healthy living and measures that can be reintroduced to foster active lifestyles will be illustrated in this lecture.

Thinking Outside the Box about Residential Design

Out-of-the-box thinking needs to be pursued to lower housing costs and adapt them to contemporary challenges. Buying à la carte, designing for growth, leaving space un-partitioned for the occupant to complete at a later stage, and implementing innovative technologies are some of the ideas that will be presented by Dr. Friedman.

Principles and applications will be outlined and their application in real-world projects will be illustrated. In the year 1999 Dr. Friedman was awarded the World Habitat Award and in the year 2000 he was selected by the influential Wallpaper magazine as one of the ten people from around the world most likely to change the way we live.

In this presentation, Avi will also describe his innovative approach to housing design.

Retooling Communities Sustainably for the 21st Century

The dawn of the 21st century introduced a “perfect storm” of challenges and opportunities for society. The era is marked by transformations affecting social, economic, environmental and cultural facets of large and small communities. The retirement of the “Baby Boom” generation, integration of the world economies, global warming and new lifestyle trends are some of these factors. They raise several questions, among them: what trends are likely to affect us the most, and in what way? And, more so, how should cities and individuals retool themselves as a result? Dr. Friedman will address these questions in his talk.

Retooling Downtowns Sustainably

This lecture lists and elaborates on strategies for sustainable renewal of downtowns and other core areas where social, economic and environmental issues are all present.

The lecture lists retooling principles and recalls the rehabilitation of core areas using a range of approaches and local and international examples.


Homebuilding--The Next Generation: Emerging Design Trends, Products and Technologies

Demographic transformations, environmental realities and technical innovation require today’s builders to think innovatively about their designs and construction methods.  This lecture offers a view of what is coming.  The audience will learn about emerging new client groups and their housing needs, innovative products and technologies that may save time, money and also be environmentally responsible, and see examples of their

Preparing for the Third Age: Homes and Communities for Seniors

With the anticipated aging of the “baby boom” generation and the graying of North America, homes and communities for seniors are promising to be a major preoccupation of cities and the homebuilding industry. Developers, architects, planners and municipal officials are retooling their knowledge on the subject.

Dr. Friedman, inventor of the Lifecycle and the Next Homes has researched the subject extensively and designed prototypes of homes and communities for for- and non-profit organizations. He will illustrate emerging trends, outline principles and show examples.

Tomorrow’s Residential Concepts; Visiting Cutting Edge Housing Projects around the World

Dr. Avi Friedman author of the books Innovative Houses, Narrow Houses, and Fundamentals of Sustainable Dwellings visited and photographed innovative residential projects around the world and interviewed their designers. He visited projects on 4 continents and countries such as China, Sweden, Denmark and Australia. In the presentation, he will describe these unique projects and their anticipated effects on future design of homes and communities.