June 15, 2011
by Canadian Architect
The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) presents The Good Cause: Architecture of Peace, an exhibition in its Octagonal Gallery examining issues arising from the reconstruction of postwar territories. The Good Cause explores the creation of lasting peace through architecture and planning projects designed to stabilize, humanize, and rebuild cities and territories devastated by armed conflict. Running from June 16 to September 4, 2011, the exhibition questions whether reconstruction can be an instrument of peace and conflict prevention, and it highlights the complexities alongside factors of success and failure involved in this process.
Conceived by the NAI (Rotterdam) and Archis (Amsterdam) and realized in collaboration with the CCA, the exhibition looks at the production of space in wartime and peacetime and presents case studies of projects undertaken with the participation of architects, planners, and architecture schools in several regions scarred by long-term geopolitical tensions: Afghanistan, Kosovo, South Africa, Rwanda, Israel, and Palestine.
The Good Cause: Architecture of Peace is part of a wider CCA research project entitled On the Natural History of Destruction. It also complements the CCA’s current exhibition, Architecture in Uniform: Designing and Building for the Second World War.
The completed works and works in progress that were selected for the exhibition by curators Saskia van Stein, Lilet Breddels and Arjen Oosterman include three projects in Afghanistan: a Kabul skate park (Skateistan) built by the NGO Architecture for Humanity in 2007; the Gardens of Babur, a key Afghan heritage site dating from the 16th-century Mongol Empire which has been rehabilitated as a central public space for Kabul residents; and a work by Dutch architect Anne Feenstra (AFIR Architects), who has designed a visitor centre and community hall for the Pamir-i-Buzurg wildlife reserve.
The exhibition also considers projects in South Africa and Rwanda. In the periphery of Port Elizabeth, the construction of a residential and cultural complex in a township by Noero Wolff Architects in 1999 represents a successful shift toward public spaces that enhance the quality of life. The project is centred on the Red Location Museum, an apartheid memorial commemorating victims for the benefit of future generations. The non-profit Football for Hope Centre in Kigali, Rwanda, by architects Killian Doherty and J Smart promotes soccer as a way of restoring a sense of belonging and improving public health and education with local youth.
Other case studies in the exhibition come from Europe and the Middle East, such as the creation of a master plan for Ein Hawd, a Palestinian village in Israel, by the Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory (FAST); the rehabilitation of the historic centre of Birzeit, north of Ramallah, West Bank, by Palestinian writer and architect Suad Amiry; and a work in progress launched in 2005 by the Archis Interventions Prishtina Foundation which regulated formerly illegal construction in Kosovo and fostered improvements in the urban fabric.
The Good Cause presents a selection of vital actions by architects and planners who have chosen to address the negative impacts of geopolitical struggle and armed conflict on living spaces and urban environments. These projects shed light on the importance of the mandates taken on by the architects.” said Mirko Zardini, CCA Director and Chief Curator.
For more information, please visit www.cca.qc.ca/en/exhibitions/1330-the-good-cause.
babur gardens, kabul, afghanistan. photo by christian richters. with permission of the aga khan trust for culture.