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e t u b i r t n o To c to peacet, know one musonflict about c

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Content How do we materialize peace? On the level of fundamental and basic needs, global society more or less knows what is wrong, and what to to do about it. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience in relief and first aid organizations, as there is with architects. We're ready to intervene in conflict areas, to fight for peace, but what are we to do next? Experts seem agreed on strategies, but are the architects and politicians ready for the long-haul?

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24 28 32 42 44 46 50 52 56 66

Editorial Arjen Oosterman The Social Scientist: Did Someone Say Collaboration? Gerd Junne interview Wars of the World Nik Dimopoulos and Timothy Moore Provide and Enable: The Role of Architects in Post-War Recovery Sultan Barakat The Architect: Keeping the Pace Esther Charlesworth interview The Aesthetic of Ethics Rory Hyde The Architect: Small Change, Big Result Malkit Shoshan interview The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions Vincent Schipper There’s No Such Thing as a Neutral State Nik Dimopoulos and Timothy Moore Blue Fabric Pieter Paul Pothoven Blue Voxpop In the Service of Peace Nik Dimopoulos and Timothy Moore Better Safe Than Sorry: Everyday Life in Post-Interventionary Society Mark Duffield The Lawyer: Title and Right Scott Leckie interview

70 74 78

Reclaiming Babur’s ‘Light Garden’ in Kabul Jolyon Leslie Return to Nature Alessandro Petti, Sandi Hilal and Eyal Weizman Peacebreeding Arjen Oosterman


 EE Insert: Archis Interventions in S South Eastern Europe

122 128 132 134 140

The Afghan Gordian Knot Allard Wagemaker The Soldier: Positive Peace Allard Wagemaker interview Thou Shall (Not) Lilet Breddels and Arjen Oosterman The Emerging Cities of Iraqi Kurdistan Anna Wachtmeister Working in a Palestinian Refugee Camp: Talbieh, Jordan Joumana al Jabri, Reem Charif and Mohamad Hafeda 144 It’s the Architect’s Fault! Wouter Vanstiphout 150 Intellectual Disaster Tourism Edwin Gardner 152 The Distance Narrows Hannes Schmidt and Sophie-Therese Trenka-Dalton 160 Colophon

You don’t need to be a philosopher to see that peace is struggle. One might even go a step further: peace is war. War and peace are antagonistic and symbiotic. It makes one wonder if a world without war is possible at all. If, for lack of a more positive description, peace is defined as the absence of war, then war is a essential component of peace. Fortunately architects do not have to solve this riddle, since they fight for the good cause. They’re here to help. Architecture is supposed to add something positive and improve a situation, isn’t it? The catch is, it ain’t easy. It’s useful to realize that this social role is a relatively recent development in architecture. Before the mid-nineteenth century architecture’s public role was one of communication: to broadcast and confirm or establish a person’s or party’s position. If architecture added to the public domain or society at large, this was a gift, a demonstration of kindness and benevolence. It was hierarchical and political, not moral. The twentieth century may have been the most violent age in the history of mankind; it was also the moral age. Good architecture had to do more than com­mu­ nicate and provide, or help and solve, exclusively serving the interest of a single client; it had to educate, change and improve. The moral superiority of a particular kind of architecture and a particular way of designing, the existence of such a position at all was self-explanatory, unchallenged throughout the century. That didn’t prevent archi­ tects from contesting the right direction, but that contest didn’t affect this underlying principle. That ‘paradigm’ lost its monopoly at the end of the last century when ideo­ logical clarity within architectural positions blurred. Architecture no longer operates in name of The Future, no longer knows best; at its best architecture modestly or flamboyantly tries to solve problems and issues here and now. And first and foremost it tries to serve. Even the good old distinction between commercial (bad!) and engaged (good!) architecture has lost its appeal. The developer is the architect’s best friend and we admire his or her guts and vision. And the user, let’s not forget the user, no longer a meek customer buying whatever is on display! Archi­tecture should listen and repeat what it’s told to say. At the end of the twentieth century architecture without an agenda had become the answer to past contradic­tions and paradoxes. If that is today’s reality, how can an architect even start thinking about operating in post-conflict areas? How should he deal with unfamiliar cultural and often highly political situations? These questions are all the more pressing since architects get blamed for all sorts of problems in their own countries and cultures. Urban social unrest? Blame the architect. Segregation? Blame the architect. A disadvantaged part of the population? Blame the architect and demolish his product. It is pretty easy to blame the architect for tensions in society. The good news is that architecture seems to matter and is taken seriously. But if architecture can have a negative impact, couldn’t the opposite be an option too? One could claim that this is the wrong argument, an absurd ambition architects shouldn’t make their own. But what does one do when duty calls given that conflict and post-conflict situations are realities which are likely to be with us for a while? Looking at the ‘map of conflicts’ in this issue, their number increased dramat­ ically at the end of the century. And there is no sign of change, yet. To put it bluntly: it is a growing market with lots to do. But how? If we forget for a moment about the discrepancies the diagram on the next page shows, there is some common sense advice. There are lots of don’ts, which you will find throughout this issue, and a couple of clear, experience-based recommendations. It takes courage, there are no guarantees and there will be more disappointments ahead, but if we’re serious about this global community, if the quality of a society is measured in its ability to be inclu­ sive and not exclude, if caring and taking care is the human thing to do, we better start finding out what architecture can contribute. Particularly how it can help with­ out introducing more or new conflict. This issue is largely based on our conference earlier this year. A two-day symposium ‘how do we materialize peace’ (NAI, Rotterdam May 2010*) was the kick off to explore potentials of architecture in the field of post-conflict reconstruction. A second conference is scheduled for the end of 2011. Awareness, good practice and knowledge exchange are all part of the project with pragmatism as the guiding rule. And this is important, because the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

* The ‘Architecture of Peace’-project is a joint initiative of Archis, the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands Architecture Institute, and Partizan Publik.

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Peace fight Arjen Oosterman


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Photo Nell Minnow


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Photo Nell Minnow

Provide and enable

The role of architects in post-war recovery

Sultan Barakat

Changes in the nature of war from interstate rivalries to internal instability and civil conflict have radically altered our perception of reconstruction and the role of the architect in post-war recovery processes. No longer is the architect the forger and executer of a large-scale systematic plan to transform the built environment in the aftermath of widespread destruction. In the new con­text of state fragility and internal conflict, the architect must adopt new approaches that are small-scale, bottom-up and community-driven. In many cases there is no longer a clear distinction between situations of war and peace; protracted conflicts raise the dilemma of rebuilding during situations of insecurity and instability. Fragile contexts are made more volatile by the multiple transitions expected of societies recovering from war, such as planned to market economies, rural to urban, or authoritarian to liberal democratic. Within this context of contemporary conflict these complexities consti­tute both direct and indirect challenges to the role of the architect in guiding and directing social outcomes. The changing nature of con­flict and the

failure of archi­

tects to mobilize have led to the marginalization of the profession in post-war

recovery processes. A shared vision affirming the central and proactive role of the architect in post-war recovery and peacebuilding is absolutely necessary, and given the complex nature of the post-conflict contexts, such vision must be ethically driven. Local perceptions of recovery frequently focus on reaffirmation of identity and regaining the control of lives and livelihoods at the individual and community level. However, contemporary reconstruction inter­ven­tions fre­quently ignore the demands for

identity and control. In the aftermath of war, the built environ­

ment assumes a com­plex role in forging identity and empow­ering or dis­em­powering communities in driving the process of recon­struction. However, a common dilemma exists between the demands for swift and effective rebuilding and forms of recon­ struction that incor­po­rate greater protection for cultural heritage and foster inclusive identities. Expe­rience over the past 50 years has shown that rapid recon­struction is not without risk to quality and resilience as well as the long-term prospects for peace and peacebuilding. The architect of sweeping reconstruction after the World War II, or more

obsolete by the changing global environment. It is imperative that a new def­i­nition of the architect is offered and that skills are taught in enabling community sur­vival and sup­porting local coping strategies. Archi­tects core analytical, com­mu­nica­tion and design skills and have the potential to constitute a distinct


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recently the Ba’athi architects in the wake of the Iran-Iraq War, have been rend­ered


advan­tage in the pro­fessional field of reconstruction that can enable architects to assume a leading role. Extending the role of the profession beyond the architect as conceivers and executers of blueprint plans to potential negotiators of post-conflict built envi­ron­ ment politics is important. Architects are well positioned for this function because their training requires skills in negotiating compromise between the interests of com­ peting parties such as authorities, clients and com­munities. These skills are learned by architects who work directly with local com­munities and are expected to under­ stand the perspective of clients. Inter-disciplinary and problem-solving skills inherent in architectural conceptualization and production enable greater understanding of recovery processes. Such skills of

empathy, under­standing

and diplomacy will be central to training a generation of conflict-sensitive architects capable of navigating and transforming complex post-war contexts. Furthermore, there is a need to move away from relief-driven charitable actions to longer-term devel­opmental responses to conflict. It is vital that efforts to induce development are initiated at an early stage when resource levels, political will, and public attention remain high. As such,

early engagement is

essential to guiding the transition from relief to recovery. However, it is important to keep in mind that urban revitalization is not restricted to simple physical reha­bil­i­ta­tion of the built envi­ron­ment. Successful recon­struc­tion requires economic and social recovery. The active partici­pa­tion of local communities in the recovery is the central pillar for success. The archi­tect should support localized initiative in a process of community-driven reconstruction. Planning codes and legislations are important but are difficult to enforce in the immediate aftermath of war. In situations of rapid institutional engineering and change typically associated with post-conflict inter­ven­tions, establishing appropriate regulations to guide the early phase of recovery may not be possible. As a con­se­quence architecture should be flexible and easy to adapt to the day-to-day environment. There may not be ade­quate levels of competency to undertake the required rehabili­ tation and reconstruction. Therefore, it is impor­tant that existing local capacities are recognized and that rebuilding is not perceived to be an opportunity to work from a ‘clean slate’. Also important is to invest in building the capacity of architects to respond in an appropriate way, both at the nation and international levels. How­ever,

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training in a ‘moral’ vacuum risks causing more harm than good. The constitution


of an ethical code for archi­tects is vital to ensure that rebuilding maximizes the longterm prospects for sustainable recovery, develop­ment and peace, while being conscious of the central role faith and politics play in the lives of the majority of the people in post-conflict environments.

The Architect Keeping the pace Esther Charlesworth interviewed by Rory Hyde and Timothy Moore

Rory Hyde  In your 2006 book Architects Without Frontiers: War, Reconstruction and Design Responsibility,1 you discuss how after a war has ended and a physical line of division within a city is dismantled, often a psycho­ logical division remains within the minds of the people. How can architecture play a role in reintegrating a city? Esther Charlesworth  That’s the question. In fact I’ve seen more examples where it tends to disunite people. You quite often have the manmade disaster of war, then there is the political disaster afterwards of incompe­tence, and then there’s the third disaster: the design disaster. Architects never really think about reconstruction in terms of psychological reconstruction. They tend to go for the classic heritage approach, by rebuilding what-itwas-where-it-was, or they use the funky 3D fly-in soft­ ware, which has nothing to do with the actual context. On the other hand, I’ve witnessed first hand in Beirut, Mostar, and particularly in Nicosia, how archi­ tects working in interdisciplinary teams, with lawyers, planners, psychologists, and politicians, have put together long-term reconstruction strategies. I’d hate to use the word ‘heal’, because it’s such a cliché in terms of post­war reconstruction, but through an undertaking spanning twenty years to develop and implement, these collab­o­ra­ tive teams produced a result on both sides of the divide, in which neither side was favored. I think when it’s done in a thoughtful and well-considered manner with other professional groups,

it can have a healing aspect. People just want to talk about these things after trauma or disaster, and want to be involved in the process when quite often they’re com­ pletely shut out. I don’t think that consultation in itself can provide psychological mending, but I do think inviting people to be a part of the general process by putting up plans and models, is a part of that journey. Timothy Moore  With this in mind: how does a typical Architects Without Frontiers project run? How do you determine which projects require your attention? What kind of people do you need to bring together? At what point you decide to act? EC  The process has changed a lot in the last ten years. At the beginning we would get a request to do anything anywhere, and we would try and do it with no funding. It was a scatter gun approach in geographic zones we knew nothing about, on projects with no chance of funding, and would inevitably lead to a letdown for the community. So last year we took a big rethink of the institute and decided to reduce our geographical focus to the AsiaPacific region, particularly Nepal, India, Vietnam, and remote indigenous communities in the Northern Territory of Australia. One of the criteria is that the project has to have funding for construction or else we generally won’t take it. Furthermore, although we offer a pro bono design service, two or three of our projects have a project manager so we manage the construction documentation and the project administration, which leverages a fee for

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Esther Charlesworth is an architect juggling the energy of a not-for-profit organization with the sustained pace of professional delivery. Along with two colleagues, Charlesworth set up Architects Without Frontiers over a decade ago to provide pro bono architectural services to humanitarian causes. After traveling the cities of Mostar, Berlin, Beirut, Jerusalem and Belfast, and coauthoring a book, Divided Cities, on these observations, Esther Charlesworth chose to focus on the region closest to her, the Asia-Pacific. There is, of course, no place like home.


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Photo David C Fox


Photo Andrew Bossi

When architecture is deployed to the front line in a postconflict, post-disaster or humanitarian scenario, it is nec­ essarily determined by limitations. Limitations of fund­ing, limitations of politics, limitations of material, and limita­ tions of time, to name just a few. As a result of these limitations, built form often takes on austere, minimal and even authentic qualities; in cases of urgency, there is little room for capital ‘A’ architecture. For this reason, it is to be expected that the portfolios of Architects for Peace, Architecture for Humanity, or MOMA’s current exhibition of ‘responsible architecture’1 contain very little bling. Typically projects of this type are constructed of locally available material using local techniques, and fail­ing that, the quintessential ‘no-frills’ choice of the socially-engaged architect: plywood. A default language of minimalism operates as a ‘non-style’ – an abstract aesthetic language that does not carry any associations, but is a blank canvas for the subsequent application of other, personal and local, associations. Ethics has an aesthetic. As architects are increasingly involved in socially-engaged projects, this ethical aesthetic is becom­ ing its own definable style, and appearing in con­texts that are far from constrained. Chilean practice Elemental, who earned notoriety for their innovative allocation of scarce resources in social housing projects, have recently been commissioned to build outside of this limiting environment, most notably for Swiss furniture manu­fac­ turer Vitra. Despite being faced with a vastly expanded budget, and the absence of a social need to fulfill, Ele­ mental have chosen to ‘approach design problems in the

same way in the developed world as in developing countries’.2 Thus, in conditions that could not be further apart, on opposite sides of the cultural, economic and geographic divide, the same restrained aesthetic emerges in parallel. But can one aesthetic be more ‘ethical’ than another? Surely the ethical responsibilities of archi­tec­ ture are achieved through deed not appearance. If a project is doing good, does it matter if it isn’t also look­ ing like it is doing good? The Islington Square social housing develop­ ment in Manchester designed by FAT Architects and completed in 2006 is undeniably doing good. Apart from accommodating those the free market has left behind, the project includes strategies to save energy, carbon emissions and water and is constructed of sustainable materials. It is also fun. With a castellated and meander­ing parapet, a checkered brick pattern supposedly derived from a dandy’s socks, and ornate window reveals and balustrades, it challenges assumptions of what social housing should look like. However, not everyone agrees with this playful approach. Alejandro Aravena of Ele­ mental, when I interviewed him following a presentation by Sam Jacob of FAT, attacked their lyrical aesthetic language, arguing ‘I don’t think you can play with these kinds of issues, [social housing] is a serious thing’. Is Aravena right? Should social projects be expressed with a corresponding language of earnestness? Or has our training led us architects to measure ethical value by image not impact?

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The Aesthetic of Ethics Rory Hyde


Journee des Baricades, a one day sculpture, Wellington, New Zealand, 2008. Heather and Ivan Morison

Aerial view of Camp Bondsteel, KFOR Task Force. Photo PD-USGOV





2. KSF area Prishtina, Prishtina

3. Camp Monteith, Gnjilane, closed in 2007

4. Camp Lebane, Lebane, lead nation Portugal

5. Camp Ville, Ljpljan, lead nation Finland



11 7

9 4 12 2 68 14 5

5 10 15 13



5. Villaggio Italia, Pejë, 7. KFOR base Prishtina, lead nation Italy Prishtina



10. Camp Kfor Pestovo, 11. Camp Casablanca, Suhareka, Pestovo lead nation Austria


8. Camp Novo Selo, Mitrovicë, lead nation France



9. Camp Victoria, Ajvalija, lead nation Sweden


12. Camp Olaf Rye, 13. Camp Sajkovac, Mitrovicë, Podujevo, lead nation Denmark lead nation Czech. Rep.

3,86 0,4

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1. Camp Bondsteel, Uroševac, lead nation USA


14. Camp Prizren, Prizren, lead nation Germany

The footprint of army bases in Kosovo.



15. Camp Vrelo, Prishtina airport

16. Camp Sultan Murat, Prizren, lead nation Turkey

200 m/1000 ft

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A timeline of developments in Kosovo. Camp Sultan Murat, Turkey Camp Prizren, Germany

Camp Bondsteel, USA Camp Casablanca, Austria

Camp Monteith

Camp Ville, Finland

KFOR Base Prishtina UN headquarters Prishtina KSF area Prishtina Kosovar Force Camp Victoria, Sweden Camp Peje, Italy Camp Vrelo, Prishtina airport

Camp Pestovo Camp Lebane Portugual

UN headquarter Camp Olaf Rye, Danish Camp Novo Selo, French Camp Sajkovac, Czech Rep

UNMIK United Nations Mission in Kosovo, main administrative power

NATO KFOR Kosovo Force


NATO bases and UNMIK headquarters

Serb Enclaves under Serb administrative power


* Administrative power occasionally overlaps, Administrative power division is unclear

Army base, UN headquarter Kosovo Serb enclave



Berlin Tempelhof Airport, an important military site throughout the first half of the twentieth century, re-opened as a public park in May 2010. Š Christo Libuda

Profile for Columbia GSAPP

Volume 26: The Architecture of Peace  

How do we materialize peace? On the level of fundamental and basic needs, global society more or less knows what is wrong, and what to to do...

Volume 26: The Architecture of Peace  

How do we materialize peace? On the level of fundamental and basic needs, global society more or less knows what is wrong, and what to to do...