Architecture of Peace

We live in an increasingly unstable world, where internal conflicts have become increasingly internationalized, sectarian violence ravages cities and communities, and terrorist threats impact daily routines. This has lead to millions of destroyed homes, conditions of rampant distrust and fear, an unprecedented number of refugees, and the expansion of missions and initiatives for peace. Propelled by this context to critical engagement, this course aims to identify opportunities and challenges to design for “peace”.

Led by two scholar-practitioners who have expertise in settings with protracted conflicts (e.g. in Israel/Palestine, Mali, Rwanda, Somalia, and the United States), this course welcomes students broadly interested in “peace” in a variety of scales and contexts. We will explore spaces around the world that are designed to  advance peace–whether cities, refugee camps, UN peacekeeping compounds, demobilization zones, memorials, or imagined communities. In these places, peace-making, peace-keeping, and peace-building refer to a range of integrated approaches that incorporate security, diplomacy, humanitarian response, reconciliation, and economic development. These approaches aim to end violence, confine threats, rebuild communities, heal from trauma, and address the causes of conflicts. Accordingly, the “architecture of peace” refers to spatial structures that attempt to build, make, or keep peace and the larger impacts that these strategies have on built and ecological environments.

The aim of the course is to understand existing spaces of peace, the impacts they (can) have in shaping cities and communities, and to examine what agency design can have in peace-keeping, peace-building, and peace-making. To explore the complex processes involved, we will privilege multidisciplinary analyses of case studies, drawing from perspectives in architecture, landscape, and urban studies, anthropology, cultural theory, economics, security studies, and sociology. By positioning our work at the intersection of research, practice, and theory, we will extrapolate tools and strategies for interventions ‘by design’.