The growing pace of urbanization in conflict-affected countries, the notable increase in the displacement of people to urban areas, coupled with increasing inequality and insecurity within cities creates new challenges for humanitarian action, development, peacebuilding and peacekeeping. These trends require the United Nations, national governments, and the international system to integrate urban perspectives in their work, to devise appropriate and durable responses to multi-layered violence, conflict, and displacement, and to “leave no one behind”.

Sustaining Peace in an Urban World seeks to link The New Urban Agenda, with the outcomes of the recent reviews and processes, most notably on sustaining peace, peace operations, and sustainable development. The core objective is to uncover how urban perspectives can facilitate efforts to sustain peace, tapping into the constructive potential of cities to overcome current global challenges.


“LAND: A Declaration” [embedded tweet, support, and response]

“One might want to propose to burn down the Empire as an act of resistance and dissident, which most likely I’d support.

Burning something down, however, feels not right at this time, if for entirely personal reasons. My parents live in Haifa (Israel). Their house was caught in the line of the fire and burned a few days ago. 

Even though it is entirely possible to polemicize on the relationship between the extraction of fossil fuels and the fires in Haifa, Bruno Latour is probably right to say that the Anthropocene requires action, not hope.

I like to think that between the polemics and Aravena’s male suck-up to existing power the paternalistic posture of the Curator of the Biennale towards existing power structures, there is a more feminine, and maybe even oriental, approach to action that escapes the trap of smallness (and decay).

It is the loving nudging of existing power structures and systems to change, berating their crimes while nurturing the latent potentials and ideals embedded on a human level in these structures and systems.

Design is not only a great communication tool but also an integrator.

It might be that I am wrong in thinking such an approach will bring the drastic change this earth needs; in BLUE we see that it is easier to change the military’s rhetoric than its methods. These days, however, I am not yet ready for a good burn.”

Malkit Shoshan



“D Is for Design: “Blue: Architecture of Peacekeeping Missions”, The Dutch Pavilion at The 15th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice. A review by Anna Battista

In a previous post last year we mentioned the main theme for the Dutch Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice (until 27th November 2016), but we haven’t reviewed this space yet. Since the architecture Biennale closes this week, let’s have a look at it today.


Ghost Town

Ghost Town is a contribution to  Le Journal des Laboratoires 2015 2016 and to the artist Yael Davids’s project ‘Objects in Diaspora’ on the distancing of geography and identity.

The text ‘Ghost Town’ is based on a transcript of a presentation.


In Our Time: A Year of Architecture in a Day

«In Our Time: A Year of Architecture in a Day» presents the most exciting and critical design projects of 2016 in a daylong event organized and hosted by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Architects, curators, theorists, photographers, and filmmakers construct a global view of contemporary architectural practice.

Participants include:

Wolfgang Tillmans, Yves Behar, Malkit Shoshan, Ensamble Studio, Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley, Ou Ning, OMA, Donovan Wylie, West 8, Nelly Ben Hayoun, Jill Magid, Smiljan Radić, Stefan Sagmeister, nArchitects, The Lowline Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, Bas Princen, Bêka & Lemoine, Space Caviar, Nora Akawi, Miranda July, REX, Amanda Williams, Liam Young, Lacaton et Vassal, Deborah Berke Partners, Christ & Gantenbein


“Architecture of Peace” at Harvard GSD

The new course “Architecture of Peace” explores challenges and opportunities to materialize peace. It examines spaces of conflict and initiative of peace.


Lecture: Design as Activism. Contested territories and spaces of interventions. at Parsons

The lecture is part of “Territories of Urban Practice” program by Evren Uzer at Parsons


Fd: Goed ontwerp by Farid Tabarki

Het geloof in de maakbaarheid van de samenleving was groot toen Mao Zedong deze maand precies vijftig jaar geleden de Culturele Revolutie startte, een poging om burgerlijke en kapitalistische elementen uit China te bannen. Artsen en ambtenaren werden naar het platteland gestuurd om te leren leven als een boer of arbeider en iedereen die zelfstandig durfde na te denken, werd vervolgd. De revolutie joeg miljoenen de dood in. Inmiddels heeft de Chinese communistische partij het officieel een ‘vergissing’ genoemd, maar hanteert deels nog dezelfde technieken.


Gili Merin interviews Malkit Shoshan for Mark Magazine: “For Centuries, maps have been used as tools of control”

A conversation between Gili Merin and Malkit Shoshan about cartography, territorial violence, atlases and books.

Photo by Cole Wilson/Surface

“Malkit Shoshan on the architecture of diplomacy” by Rocky Casale for Surface Magazine

The Israeli-born Brooklynite designed the Dutch Pavilion as a means towards resolution in places where conflict is rampant.

Link to the article


A “total-blue” pavilion welcomes visitors of the Dutch exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016. By Riccardo Bianchini

Blue is everywhere here, from the net fabric wrapping the pavilion itself, to walls and furniture, up to the title of the exhibition, curated by Malkit Shoshan, a research fellow at the Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam. But why?

The answer is simple and articulated at the same time: a specific type of blue (35.7% red, 57.3% green and 89.8% blue) is the flag-color of the United Nations as well as the their peacekeeping mission carried out across the world by the so-called “Blue Helmets”.

But “the Blue people” (for their indigo clothes) is also a name which usually identifies the Tuareg nomadic populations living in the North-eastern part of Africa, including Mali, where a UN compound has been built and is managed by the Netherlands.


“Defense, Diplomacy, Development & Design” by Jacqueline Knudsen. ArchitectuurNL

Zojuist is in het Nederlands Paviljoen in Venetië de expositie BLUE: Architectuur van VN Vredesmissiesvan architect Malkit Shoshan geopend. De boodschap van Shoshan: de architectuur van Verenigde Naties vredesmissies hervormen tot nieuwe ruimtelijke oplossingen die het leven voor de lokale bevolking verbeteren.


designboom: “dutch pavilion at venice biennale focuses on the architecture of UN peacekeeping missions.”

‘reporting from the front’ is the theme of the 2016 venice architecture biennale, under which alejandro aravena has curated projects from around the globe that focus on the need to provide growing numbers of people with accommodation and basic living conditions, under increasingly difficult circumstances. as the director of the 15th international architecture exhibition, aravena has identified front lines around the world where creative architects can bring about a breakthrough in extremely complex urban issues, not least of all in places of military conflict. it is this particular topic that is the focus of malkit shoshan’s ongoing research into the architecture of the united nation’s (UN) peacekeeping missions.

de Volkskrant: “Nederlands paviljoen Biënnale Venetië kleurt blauw van de camouflagenetten Architect Malkit Shoshan ontwierp een Nederlands paviljoen over de VN-vredesmissies.” Bob Witman (NL)

“De Nedrlandse bijdrage aan de Architectuur Biënnale van Venetië steekt felblauw af tussen de tientallen andere landenpaviljoens. De Israëlisch-Nederlands architect Malkit Shoshan, heeft het eerbiedwaardige Rietveldpaviljoen uit 1954 in blauwe camouflagenetten verpakt voor haar presentatie BLUE: Architectuur van Vredesmissies, over de Nederlandse blauwhelmenmissie in Gao, Mali.


2016 Architecture Biennial, Dutch Pavilion: Blue by Bettina Schürkamp for FSB

” UN peacekeeping missions in Africa as an urban phenomenon: architect and curatrix Malkit Shoshan researched the hermetically guarded “Camp Castor” in Mali and in her “Blue” exhibition shows how UN bases can become networked “sharing spaces”.

This year’s Dutch Pavilion is in a radiantly ethereal blue that settles like a veil of confidence over photos, maps and models from 170 UN peacekeeping missions in Africa. In contrast to the architectural concepts predominant in many of the other Pavilions, here the public enters a spacious panorama of international diplomacy. LED dots of light on the rear wall indicate UN locations on maps that twinkle like a star-lit sky in the azure-blue semi-darkness. The meditative sounds of Nigerian musician Abdallah ag Oumbadougou, founding father of a rock and traditional music crossover dubbed “Tuareg blues”, give visitors an intimation of life on the edge of the Sahara. Artificial palms and an area of sand in the middle of the Pavilion round off this recreation of an African desert oasis. It takes a while to realise that the “Blue” exhibition is actually a richly detailed research project on the urban construction of UN camps for the MINUSMA international peacekeeping mission. It was also shown in January 2016 at UN headquarters in New York.”

Link to the essay.


“6 must sees voor de Architectuur Biennale in Venetië: Te gast op een militaire basis.” by Mariska Wildschut (NL)

Natuurlijk mag een bezoek aan het Nederlandse paviljoen tijdens de Biennale niet ontbreken. De Israëlische architecte Malkit Shoshan tekende voor de presentatie, met een wel heel bijzonder onderwerp: het onderzoek naar VN Camp Castor in Gao in Mali. Shoshan is gespecialiseerd in ‘de architectuur van het conflict’.

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