Sparking a fire under housing professionals with innovative ideas and creative anecdotes is how Avi Friedman set the stage for the BCNPHA Conference in Richmond, Nov. 22.
Friedman, a professor and co-founder of the Affordable Housing Program at McGill School of Architecture, is no stranger to the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association conference. This year he hosted the pre-conference event Thinking Outside the Box about Affordable Housing.
M’akola Development Services sponsored the full-day event with nearly 100 eager professionals in attendance, a pairing Friedman welcomed.
“I am amazed by what M’akola is doing. It seems both of us see the same opportunities when it comes to affordable housing and sustainable communities,” he explained.
Friedman hopes to pair up with MDS again and viewed Nov. 22 as the beginning of a valuable partnership citing the principles of success he lectures are the same principles MDS has in place.
“MDS values communities and is building communities,” said Friedman acknowledging “There are many aspects and facets of the housing process.”
“M’akola is building the best stuff. As an architect it looks good,” Friedman said. “These don’t look like cheap homes, they are beautiful homes.”
Several of the attendees were former students of Friedman including MDS’ Director of Projects and Planning Kaela Schramm and Junior Planner Chelsea Medd.
“Seeing my students here who have devoted their lives to this is great. I see it as an investment that is being paid back 10 times over,” Friedman beamed.
For the rest of the attendees, Friedman’s goal was for them to leave the session with one message, “I want them to know that affordable housing is possible. Things can happen. If you set your mind to create affordable housing it can be created. And to be achieved it needs to be done with others.”
Friedman has designed three housing prototypes that have been constructed around the world. His work has been featured extensively in publications including Popular Science and The New York Times.