Architecture of Peace

The Good Cause Exhibitions

The Good Cause exhibition explores how architects and urban planners can and should play a significant role in facilitating the process of rebuilding and stabilizing post-conflict spaces. By accepting the notion that war and conflict are both ongoing conditions that won't disappear, it becomes necessary to address the complexity of these conditions through an understanding of the different stages that occur during the establishment of peace.

Factors of Success

Despite all the difficulties and differences in post-conflict situations, certain factors can be determined that should be included in the strategy for intervention or building (both material and immaterial).

Featured Case Studies

The case studies are chosen to represent a variety of localities and scales, situated in diverse regions such as South Africa, Palestine, Kosovo and Rwanda. These cases provide viable strategies towards positive peace. For each project the factors for success that are most applicable are highlighted.

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The Bagh-e Babur Gardens, which once served as a temporary refuge for displaced civilians, were restored to provide a space for recreation and cultural events. Much attention was put into re-establishing the historical significance of the gardens as a commemorative burial site of Muhammad Babur, the founder of the Mughal empire in the 16th Century. The reconstruction efforts in Kabul have been used as catalysts for social development and the overall improvement of the quality of life. From 2002, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture has been working in collaboration with the German Archaeological Institute in the rehabilitation of the site of 11 hectares on the slope of the Hindu Kush Mountains. By 2007, the complex system of water canals that previously channeled rainfall from the surrounding hills had been rebuilt along with planted terraces and pavilions.

1.Provide employment, establish trust through guaranteed safety
2.Rehabilitate a historical space to restore public inclusion and identity

When NATO peace-keepers (KFOR) intervened in Kosovo in 1999, the majoritarian ethnic Albanians started a frantic construction boom. Villagers moving to the city and returning refugees contributed to an enormous population growth and a subsequent housing shortage. The lack of regulatory institutions combined with the lure of quick returns on property investments led to a chaotic and socially undesirable urban fabric. Archis Interventions Prishtina was founded in 2005 to mediate between private interests and public institutions in the process of urban planning. The intervention practice produced a manual to define local housing typologies and to provide sound architectural guidance for the existing illegal construction. A campaign in newspapers and on national television also raised public awareness of the problems. The local authority of Prishtina appropriated the manual in its efforts to regulate housing and planning principles.

1.Formalize the informal and create official ownership
2.Use local popular media to legitimise an existing urban condition
3. Establish a community of actors and stakeholders

Archis Interventions Prishtina 2009 from ArchisVolume on Vimeo.

Skateistan is a skateboarding school in Kabul, engaging growing numbers of displaced youth through skateboarding. An independent Afghan NGO, the school reaches out to a young community largely untouched by international aid programs seeking to foster civil society development. Skateistan's students come from all of Afghanistan's diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
In 2009, Skateistan completed the construction of a skate park and educational facility on land donated by the Afghan National Olympic Committee. Besides skate boarding, the school becomes a place for students to resume an everyday lifestyle and offers tuition in the arts, information technology, civic responsibility and languages. Girls and boys who have attended the school occupy the streets of Kabul seemingly transcending social barriers providing evidence of some of the positive changes taking place in the city.

1.Stimulate public inclusion and provide enhanced sense of identity
2.Transmit skills to local population

Skateistan: To Live And Skate Kabul from Grain Media on Vimeo.

Skateistan: To Live And Skate Kabul is a short film directed by Orlando von Einsiedel that follows the lives of two young skateboarders from Afghanistan who attend the Skateistan project.

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