Venice – Giardini: The 15th International Architecture Biennale
The Dutch Pavilion
BLUE: Architecture of Peacekeeping Missions
Commissioner - Het Nieuwe Instituut
Curator: Malkit Shoshan
The Netherlands. The United Nations has active peacekeeping missions in hundreds of sites around the world. The military bases are self-sustaining islands, shut off from their direct surroundings. The extreme design of these compounds mirrors the power structures and systems of the peacekeeping forces and makes no contribution to improving the lives of the inhabitants of these regions. The urgent need to reach new spatial solutions that can also have significance for local communities is an important motivation for her research.
The Netherlands - Blue. The presentation centers on the case study of Camp Castor in Gao, Mali, where the UN is carrying out a peacekeeping mission. The color blue is used as a metaphor for the conflict, uniting architecture and human rights. The peacekeeping mission is located in the desert region of the Tuareg, known as ‘blue men’ because of their indigo clothing, and is carried out by UN Blue Helmets. In this nomadic region the borders are fluid and shift with the seasons; there is a state of permanent crisis due to war, climate change, sickness and hunger. The color blue has also guided designer Irma Boom who, together with Malkit Shoshan, has designed the exhibition’s graphics.
Four Steps for Sharing Space
Exchange – Interface – Shared Space – Post Mission
A four-step process describes how a UN base can gradually open up and share resources and knowledge with local populations. The stages are linked with security regimes. The diagrams and models focus on three topics of exchange: water, energy and food. The proposal is based on conversations with military engineers, policy-makers, diplomats, landscape designers, economists, anthropologists and local population.
Camp Castor – Model
The city of Goa is only a few hundred meters away, once inside the base, the city simply disappears: it feels far away. Most of the soldiers have never visited the city during their deployment.