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Blue: Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions review by The Venice Insider

At the Dutch pavilion, curator Malkit Shoshan presents her ongoing research on architecture in conflict areas. She focuses this exhibition on the United Nations’ peacekeeping missions, more particularly on Camp Castor in Gao, Mali. This topic fits perfectly within the ‘Reporting from the Front theme’, set by Alejandro Aravena.

Reflecting on Venice: Design positions at the Front by Andrea Prins. (NL)

“Malkit Shoshan, oprichter van de architectuurdenktank FAST en curator van het Nederlandse paviljoen, onderzoekt in BLUE de militaire kampen van UN-vredesmissies. Ze constateert, dat de veiligheidshekken rondom die kampen voor het militaire personeel letterlijk én figuurlijk een grens vormen naar ‘de ander’ en voor de ‘buiten’ levende bevolking de zoveelste buitenlandse bezetting van hun land symboliseren. Shoshan wil, door middel van haar onderzoek, zowel de situatie binnen de kampen als de relatie tussen kamp en omgeving verbeteren. Onderdeel van haar werk is het onderzoeken van de wisselwerking tussen militaire kampementen en ‘de stad’; het verzamelen van verhalen en het houden van interviews om vat te krijgen op het complexe functioneren van een kamp. Interessant is de vraag hoe de opzet van een kamp zou kunnen veranderen, wanneer het als een ‘normaal’ stedelijk project gezien zou kunnen worden.

Debate: ‘Reflecting on Venice: Design Positions at the Front.’ July 7, 2016

Can (or should) a designer engage with complex social and political issues? What stance can architects take within this field? Are they really given room to bring about improvements or is it simply a matter of good intentions? These and other questions will be discussed in relation to several exhibitions currently on view at the Venice Architecture Biennale under the banner ‘Reporting from the Front’. With contributions from curators Sabine Dreher (Austrian pavilion, Places for People), Oliver Elser (German pavilion, Making Heimat), Malkit Shoshan (Dutch pavilion, BLUE. Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions) and Luke Korlaar (UNHCR). The discussion will be led by Lilet Breddels, director of Volume.

The opening of the exhibition ‘BLUE: Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions’ at the Venice Architecture Biennale

Photos by Simone Ferraro

Metropolis: Timely, Urban, and Contextual: The Venice Architecture Biennale’s Most Thought-Provoking Pavilions

“Dutch Pavilion
BLUE: Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions

Malkit Shoshan, founder of the architecture think tank FAST and curator of the Dutch pavilion, has spent the past decade researching the intersections between architecture, politics, and human rights, particularly in conflict zones. For this year’s biennale, Shoshan examined the UN’s bases around the world, which have historically taken the form of enormous, militarized compounds inside and around cities (170 to be precise), and explore how these compounds could better achieve their peace-keeping missions. After all, as Shoshan explains, every UN base should represent diplomacy, defense, and development; existing complexes give tribute to defense only.

The New York Times: Six Not-to-Miss Shows at the Venice Architecture Biennale

“The Netherlands

The curator Malkit Shoshan specializes in the architecture of conflict, and for “Blue,” she focuses on the structures created by the United Nations at Camp Castor in Gao, Mali. “Blue” indicates, on the one hand, the blue helmets of the peacekeeping mission, and on the other, the “blue men” of the Tuareg, in whose region the mission is situated. Shoshan suggests the military camp itself as a permeable cultural location rather than a fortress, and one that brings with it the possibility of positive change.”

By Hettie Judah

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Haaretz: “איך האו”ם יכול באמת לעזור לתושבי אפריקה” (Hebrew)

האדריכלית מלכית שושן אצרה את הביתן ההולנדי עטור השבחים בביאנלה בוונציה. היא מציעה בו דרכים שבאמצעותן יוכלו גם תושבים באפריקה ליהנות מהתשתיות של בסיסי האו”ם

By Naama Riba

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Architizer: Venice Biennale 2016: 4 Remarkable Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises

“BLUE: The Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions presents Camp Castor (Gao, Mali), designed, constructed and deployed by 450 Dutch soldiers, as a case study. BLUE refers to the color of U.N. helmets and the local Tuareg people’s indigo-dyed clothing.

The opening program at the Dutch Pavilion during the vernissage of the Venice Architecture Biennale

Thursday, 26 May 2016 

  • 11 AM

Official opening of ‘BLUE: Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions’ with General Tom Middendorp, Chief of Defence

  • 5 PM

Live performance by the Malian rapper Master Soumy

Opening of ‘BLUE: Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions’ in the Dutch Pavilion.


On May 26, General Tom Middendorp, Chief of Defence, will open the exhibition BLUE: Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions in the Dutch Pavilion. Architect Malkit Shoshan has been invited by Het Nieuwe Instituut (architecture, design, digital culture) to curate the Dutch contribution to the fifteenth edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale. BLUE explores the architecture of the peacekeeping base as a component of the United Nations missions.

Defensie en design – de erfenis van Kamp Castor in Mali

Peter Olsthon released a good and comprehensive review on the presenation ‘Reporting from Mali‘  that took place at Het Nieuwe Institute.

A link to read the article [NL]

BLUE: Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions

E-flux announcement:

May 28–November 27, 2016

Dutch Pavilion at the Venice International Architecture Biennale

Harvard GSD – MDes Lecture: Malkit Shoshan, “Architecture and Conflict, BLUE: ISLANDS IN CITIES”


Monday, February 29, 2016
06:30pm – 08:00pm


Stubbins (Room 112), Gund Hall, 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138


Free and open to the public

Event Description

Lecture Night: Reporting from Mali with Malkit Shoshan

Reporting from Bamako, Gao and Timbuktu on April 7th, 2016 at The New Institute. For further information

The Dutch FM Koenders hosts BLUE event at UN

BLUE: ISLANDS IN CITIES was presented at the UN on January 26th, 2016. Below are photos of the presentation and the exhibition.
The photos are in courtesy of the Dutch Mission to the UN.

The presentation of BLUE: ISLANDS IN CITIES at the UN

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mr. Bert Koenders, invites you to the presentation on 26 January 2016 of the project BLUE: ISLANDS IN CITIES by Malkit Shoshan, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.  In the same building an exhibition will open about the project, a precursor to the presentation that will be on view at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale.

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