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Editor Profile

Avi Friedman


McGill University, Canada



Avi Friedman

Professor of Architecture

McGill University


Specialty Area

Architecture; Sustainable development; Urban renewal; Innovative housing; Designing healthy communities; Housing and lifestyle; Affordable housing

Editor introduction

Avi Friedman began his 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), his Master of Architecture from McGill University and his Doctorate in 1987 from Université de Montréal. In 1988 he co-founded the Affordable Homes Program at the McGill School of Architecture, where he is a professor. He is also an Honorary Professor in Lancaster University in the U.K.

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. For his research he was awarded 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 23 books as well as 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 international meetings in most of which he was a keynote speaker. 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. He is also a columnist for several media outlets.

Avi Friedman has designed several housing prototypes which were built as full-scale demonstration projects and were then constructed by homebuilders 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 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 300 occasions at meetings of government officials, development authorities, university professors and students, homebuilders, architects and planners in locations as diverse as Dalian, Guadalajara, Prague, Singapore, Berlin and Melbourne.  He has received awards for his design and teaching, including the American Institute of Architects Education Honors, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Collaborative Practice Award, prestigious Creative Achievement Award, the World Habitat Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Sustainable Buildings Canada.

Avi Friedman is a member of the Order of Architects of Quebec and 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 and conversion of industrial buildings into residences. His list of clients includes governments, cities and private sector enterprises.

Dr. Friedman served as a member of many boards and committees in government and trade, including the National Advisory Council on Energy Efficiency, and the National Housing Research Committee of Canada. 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”.

Selected Scholarly Contributions

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