A smart base-isolation system, composed of low damping bearings and piezoelectric friction damper is studied in this paper. The semi-active piezoelectric friction damper (PFD) is proposed for control of peak dynamic response of seismic-excited structures. In the proposed PFD device, the friction force between two sliding plates is regulated by controlling the normal force using piezoelectricity across the damper, and its advantage is that its operation requires only minimal external power. A high efficient control algorithm is proposed for the semi-active control of the friction damper using a simple static output. The effectiveness of the PFD device and the control strategy in reducing the peak dynamic response of structures is investigated through an application to a 5-story base-isolated building. Numerical results demonstrate that the proposed PFD device and the control strategy are effective in reducing the peak drift of rubber-bearings of the base-isolated building subject to earthquakes.