About us

In 2005, Malkit Shoshan, along with Michiel Schwarz, Willem Velthoven, and Alwine van Heemstra, founded FAST. The impetus behind the creation of FAST stemmed from a question posed to us by the Ein Hawd community, a village of internally displaced Palestinians in Israel. They sought an alternative masterplan to challenge the one imposed by the Israeli government, enabling them to engage in negotiations with governmental bodies and assert their basic rights to essential civic services.

Following the completion of the long-term project “One Land Two Systems” with the Ein Hawd community, which included an international architecture competition, public symposia, local workshops, exhibitions, art installations in public space, an advocacy campaign, and the design of a masterplan, FAST has continued to pursue a wide range of projects across different scales and contexts. We have published award-winning books, initiated policy papers, curated exhibitions, and engaged in educational initiatives. These endeavors are all driven by a shared mission of expanding the field of architecture and spatial design to shed light on and address pressing public concerns and foster visions that promote social and environmental justice.

Malkit Shoshan is a designer, researcher, educator, writer and the founding director of the architecture think-tank FAST: Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory. FAST employs research, advocacy, design, and public art, to explore and make visible the complex relations between architecture, urban planning, and human rights. Their cross-disciplinary work investigates the impact of systemic and spatial violence on people’s lived environments and aims to promote social and environmental justice through collaborative initiatives and designs.

Shoshan is the author and mapmaker of the award-winning book “Atlas of Conflict: Israel-Palestine” (Uitgeverij 010, 2010), which visually portrays the emergence of Israel and the disappearance of Palestine over the past century. She is also the co-author of “Village. One Land Two Systems and Platform Paradise” (Damiani Editore, 2014), a book that narrates the story of an internally displaced community in Israel and showcases Shoshan’s participatory design process to develop an alternative masterplan for the village, advocating for spatial equality and state services.

Her other publications include “Zoo, or the letter Z, just after Zionism” (NAiM, 2012), “Drone. UNMANNED. Architecture and Security Series” (DPR-Barcelona, 2016), “Retreat. UNMANNED. Architecture and Security Series” (DPR-Barcelona, 2020), “Spaces of Conflict” issue for Footprint, TU Delft Architecture Theory Journal (JAP SAM Books, 2017), “Greening Peacekeeping: The Environmental Impact of UN Peace Operations” (The International Peace Institute, 2018), and “UN Peace Missions in Urban Environments and the Legacy of UNMIL” (FAST, CIC-NYU, 2019).

In 2016, Shoshan curated the Dutch Pavilion at The Venice Architecture Biennale, presenting the exhibition “BLUE: Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions.” This exhibition was part of a long-term research and design project that explores the influence of UN missions on cities, communities, and the environment, which is also the focus of her recent book, “BLUE: The Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions” (Actar, 2023).

In 2021, Shoshan received The Silver Lion at the Venice Architecture Biennale for her collaborative project “Border Ecologies and the Gaza Strip: Watermelon, Sardines, Crabs, Sand, and Sediment.”

Shoshan pursued her architecture studies at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and the IUAV – University of Venice. She currently holds a position as a visiting scholar at the Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU. Previously, she co-directed the Art, Design, and the Public Domain Master in Design Studies at Harvard GSD. In addition, she has served as a visiting critic at Syracuse University School of Architecture and Carlton University School of Architecture.

Since 2016, Shoshan has been actively teaching a variety of courses at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. These courses include Architecture of Peace, Spaces of Solidarity, Exhibit: Designing for Decentralization, Forms of Assembly, Interdisciplinary Art and Design Practices, Reimagining Social Infrastructure and Collective Futures, and Desert Futures: Scenarios for a World of Extremes.

Her research and design work has been featured in prominent newspapers and journals including the New York Times, The Guardian, NRC, Haaretz, Volume, Surface, Frame, Metropolis, and Harvard Design Magazine. Her work has also been exhibited at venues such as the Venice Architecture Biennale (2002, 2008, 2016, 2021), Cooper Hewitt (2021-2023), Rotterdam Architecture Biennale (2011, 2022), UN Headquarters in NYC (2016), Harvard GSD (2017, 2020), NAiM/Bureau Europa (2012, 2021), Boijmans Museum (2016), Het Nieuwe Instituut (2014), Istanbul Design Biennale (2014), Israel Digital Art Center (2012), and Netherlands Architecture Institute (2007).

Shoshan is the 2024 Senior Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and 2024 Bellagio resident.


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.

Current FAST Affiliates and Project’s Collaborators

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Håvard Breivik-Khan is an architect, researcher, and educator with over a decade of experience in global displacement management and contingency planning. Breivik-Khan has been deployed to the Government Ministries of Moldova and Romania, and United Nations agencies in Haiti, Nepal, North Macedonia, Hungary, and United Nations Headquarters in New York through the Norwegian Refugee Council’s emergency standby roster, NORCAP. Breivik-Khan is the co-creator and responsible teacher of the master’s course In Transit Studio (2016 – 2023) at the Institute of Urbanism and Landscape at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO). He is an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) in New York. His teaching and research address the urgency of climate action and highlights the need to re-actualize the relationship between architecture and urbanism with displacement management and contingency planning both in research and in policy and practice. Breivik-Khan has authored and edited several books, articles and contributed to many publications. He holds a master’s degree in architecture from AHO, with residencies in Paris, France (ENSAPLV) and Shanghai and Chongqing, China.

Amir Qudaih is a Palestinian farmer from Gaza. He moved to Boston with unwavering determination and embarked on a long journey to pursue his passion for engineering. Now, he works as a consultant engineer. Amir’s dedication to innovation extends beyond the workplace. He was part of a team that won the prestigious Silver Lion Award at the 7th Venice Architecture Biennale. Additionally, he is a member of the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. In 2020, Amir’s leadership shone as he led a team in developing a low-cost emergency ventilator prototype. Amir exemplifies his commitment to using engineering and his network for positive social impact and to help his community.
When free, Amir enjoys hitting the waves for a spot of sailing.

Layal Merhi is an architect and designer. Her work and teaching stand at the intersection of architecture, memory, and the urban realm with particular focus on pushing the boundaries of representation across media, including through installation, animation, and print. Most recently earning a Master of Design Studies (2023) from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Layal also holds a RIBA accredited Masters in Architecture (2016) from the Bartlett UCL. She has taught architecture design studios and seminars since 2017 at Northeastern, WIT, and the Lebanese American University. Layal’s work has been exhibited on a number of occasions, including a recent solo exhibit of her thesis work at Harvard. Her academic work in Beirut, London, and Boston has also been distributed in a number of publications.