In 2005 Malkit Shoshan initiated FAST with Michiel Schwarz, Willem Velthoven and Alwine van Heemstra. The urgency to create FAST began with a question posed to us by a Palestinian community of Internally Displaced Persons, Ein Hawd. The community needed a planning alternative to the one imposed by the Israeli government. They wished to have a masterplan, with which they could negotiation and claim their basic civil rights from governmental bodies.
At the start of the Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory, the founders decided to address the role of architecture in times of conflict. The first project, One Land Two Systems, focused on Ein Hawd. After One land Two Systems many projects, publications and exhibitions have followed.
Presently, FAST collaborates with experts in the field of anthropology, economics, international law, landscape, architecture and urban design, as well as with UN agencies, NGOs and policy institutes. Together we develop alternative imaginaries and policies to improve people’s livelihood in conflict-affected urban environments. Our recent projects include Design for Legacy, UN Peacekeeping Missions in Urban Environments and the legacy of UNMIL (Liberia), and The Environmental Impact of UN Peace Operations.
Malkit Shoshan is the founder and director of the architectural think tank FAST: Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory. FAST uses research, advocacy, and design to investigate the relationship between architecture, urban planning, and human rights in conflict and post-conflict areas. Its cross-disciplinary and multi-scalar work explores the mechanisms behind, and the impact of, displacement, spatial violence, and systemic segregation on people’s living environments. FASTs projects promote spatial justice, equality, and solidarity.
Shoshan is the author and the mapmaker of the award-winning book Atlas of Conflict: Israel-Palestine (Uitgeverij 010, 2010). The book details the emergence of Israel and disappearance of Palestine over the past century. It visualizes issues of settlement distribution and typology, land ownership, landscaping, water and access to resources in a state of conflict. Shoshan is also the co-author of the book Village: One Land Two Systems and Platform Paradise (Damiani Editore, 2014). Village consists of multiple narratives that recount the story of an internally displaced community in Israel and shows how Shoshan designed a collaborative engagement process to produce an alternative masterplan for the village. This masterplan served as a tool to negotiate the community’s right to spatial equality and state services with the local authorities. Additional publications include Zoo, or the letter Z, just after zionism (NAiM, 2012), the UNMANNED: Architecture and Security Series (DPR-Barcelona, 2016) and the issue Spaces of Conflict for Footprint, TU Delft Architecture Theory Journal (JAP SAM Books, 2017).
In 2016, Shoshan was the curator of the Dutch Pavilion for The Venice Architecture Biennale with the exhibition BLUE: Architecture of UN peacekeeping missions, which examines the spatiality and legacy of UN Peace Operations in conflict-affected urban environments. The exhibition is now part of the National Architecture Collection of The Netherlands and will be the subject of her forthcoming book BLUE: Peacekeeping Architecture (Actar, 2018).
Shoshan studied architecture at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and the IUAV – the University of Venice. She is currently a visiting scholar at the Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU, the Area Head of Art Design and the Public Domain at Harvard GSD and a Ph.D. fellow at the Delft University of Technology. She is currently teaching the course Spaces of Solidarity at Harvard GSD. In 2016, she was on the editorial board of Footprint, the TU Delft Architecture Theory Journal and taught a course Architecture of Peace at the Harvard GSD. In 2015, she was a visiting critic at Syracuse University’s School of Architecture. Shoshan was a finalist for the Harvard GSD’s Wheelwright Prize in 2014.
Her research and design work has been published in newspapers and journals including the New York Times, The Guardian, NRC, Haaretz, Volume, Surface, Frame, Metropolis, and exhibited in venues including the UN Headquarters in NYC (2016), Venice Architecture Biennale (2002, 2008, 2016), Experimenta (2011), Het Nieuwe Instituut (2014), The Istanbul Design Biennale (2014), Israeli Center for Digital Art (2012), and The Netherlands Architecture Institute (2007).
Alwine van Heemstra is a media producer. She is the owner of WinWin Stories. “It is my mission as a media producer to capture great stories and bring these to the right audience. I love ‘selling’ true stories that move and motivate people. I am a connector and a messenger. I have an urge to help people share their ideas and adventures with others. When I discovered media as a tool fifteen years ago, I decided to make it my profession.”
Cristina Ampatzidou is a Rotterdam-based researcher and writer with a background in Architecture and Urbanism and a founder of Amateur Cities. Currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Groningen on the topic of gaming and urban complexity, she previously worked as an embedded researcher for the Amsterdam Hackable Metropolis project, a collaboration of the University of Amsterdam, the Mobile City and One Architecture. Cristina has been a collaborator of Play the City! Foundation and the Architecture Film Festival of Rotterdam and has worked for several architecture offices in the Netherlands, including MAKS, Barcode Architects, OMA and the Powerhouse Company. Her research investigates the affordances of new media for ‘citymaking’ and the changing roles of professional designers, policy makers and citizens. She collaborated with artist Giuseppe Licari on the projects Mental Charlois and Swinging the Lamp and she curated the program of public events for Licari’s installation Public Room. Cristina has been a guest teacher for the Urban Body studio in TU Delft and is a regular contributor in Uncube and Bettery magazines. She is also a founding member of Beforelight, an artists’ collective working exclusively on lighting design and installations.
Willem Velthoven, trained in visual communications and art history, founded and developed Mediamatic as a cultural institution but also as a new media agency and technology developer. In the meantime, it has also been a publisher, a restaurant, an Arabic department store and a dating agency. Mediamatic is looking into the possibility of becoming a travel service. He is fascinated by the development of media culture and social software. Currently, he is most interested in developing open social networks as part of public institutions and infrastructure. The developments in this field yield enormous potential for the public sector.