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Technology & Engineering General

The Grow Home

by (author) Avi Friedman

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2001
General, Residential
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2001
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2006
    List Price

Classroom Resources

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With economic restructuring, demographic shifts, and lifestyle changes, the traditional family - working father, stay-at-home mother, two to three children - is no longer the norm and the need for smaller homes at moderate cost has skyrocketed. The first prototype of the Grow Home was built on the campus of McGill University in 1990 and more than one thousand units were built across North America and Europe in the first year alone. In this illustrated guide, Friedman describes the background, conception, and construction of these modest (14" x 36") homes. He details their construction for prospective owners, builders, and architects, showing how past and contemporary precedents have been transformed and how the first versions were adapted by the building industry. Visits to completed Grow Homes shed light on why such homes were purchased and the process by which they "grew." Friedman also shows how the design has been adapted for prefabrication to meet the needs of the developing world. He describes the contribution that small-unit design makes to saving valuable natural resources and shares his experiences in planning communities based on the Grow Home. The Grow Home reveals the development and history of a concept that revolutionizes the home and building industry, has been translated into over 10,000 housing units, and has received, among many accolades, the United Nations World Habitat Award.

About the author

Avi Friedman teaches architecture at McGill University and is a practicing architect. He is the recipient of several research and design awards including the World Habitat Award and the 2014 Sustainable Buildings Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the author of eighteen books, including Innovative Houses: Concepts for Sustainable Living, A View from the Porch: Rethinking Home and Community Design (Véhicule), and A Place in Mind: Designing Cities for the 21st Century (Véhicule). He lives in Montreal, Quebec.

Avi Friedman's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Named one of the 10 men who will change the way we live by ultra hip Wallpaper magazine, architect Avi Friedman explains his "anything-is-possible home". "In 25 years time, we'll be sitting on a soft sofa that can morph into a dining table, living in a department store (well, almost), watching our gadgets satisfy our every decorative whim and dreaming of an easier life. In the meantime we've identified ten forces who will improve everyday experiences including Avi Friedman, architect of the anything-is-possible home." - Wallpaper "Avi Friedman is revolutionizing the way Canadians look at housing." - Danny Kucharsky "Affordable housing is one of those fuzzy ideas that everyone likes to support but few know how to actually create. One exception may be Dr. Avi Friedman." - Designer/Builder: A Journal of the Human Environment "It is the architectural equivalent of the Japanese compact car, without options like power steering or a tape deck." - The New York Times "The Grow Home is a no-frills, quality townhouse that makes so much sense, it's destined to be a model of smart living." - The Ottawa Citizen