Compounds represent the spatial infrastructure and the buildings that are being constructed in order to host the temporary international presence overseas, mainly, during peacekeeping and reconstruction missions This sub-theme is both a research and a design initiative also titled ‘Design for Legacy’. Het Nieuwe Instituut organized two workshops.
Pre-cycling the compound
With this workshop, we seek to investigate an inclusive design approach and asking questions such as: Can compounds be planned for multiple usages? When a force leaves its compound, can the compound adapt a second civic life and be more resourceful for the local community?
Designing Scenarios for the Post-Military use of Camp Castor
With Dutch forces deployed at a speedily constructed base in Gao for the peacekeeping mission to Mali (part of the UN’s MINUSMA initiative), a workshop initiated by Het Nieuwe Instituut brought together Netherlands Ministry of Defence engineers plus experts from various fields to consider how this compound, and other bases, might leave behind a constructive legacy.
Background to the Compounds research
The UN is constructing large compounds in hundreds of cities around the world. These compounds although located inside of citied and in close proximity to inhabited areas are designed only by military engineers as self-sufficient islands. This study and design intervention aims at introducing architectural know-how and design thinking to the planning process of UN operations and missions. This project seeks to demonstrate that UN bases can transcend their military origins and be used for multiple, social aims. They can be inclusively designed so that, when a force leaves one behind, it can begin a second life and turn into an important resource for the local community.
The compounds workshops aim to investigate an inclusive design approach by asking questions such as: Can compounds be planned for multiple usages? When a force leaves its compound, can the compound adapt a second civic life and be more resourceful for the local community? It aims to explore the contemporary architecture and landscape of war and of international relations. Dutch military presence overseas is framed under UN, NATO, or EU mandates. It is not a big force, but its impact is very relevant, especially, within the context of the 3D approach.
The construction projects that are initiated by international forces during these missions are enormous; they have no proportion to the local scale. Moreover, while these spaces are constructed and planned for temporary use, many of them are made of long lasting materials, such as, concrete, bricks, steel, prefab structures, and so on. Many of theses buildings are there to stay. They remain behind and turn into waste, or a nuisance for the local community. The Netherlands is known for its skilful design capacity, both in the small and in the large scale. It is also known for its involvement in humanitarian missions and for large investments in development aid projects worldwide. As the 3D integrated approach implies collaboration between the soldiers, the humanitarians and the diplomats. We are tempted to ask, can this collaboration be extended toward the production of a comprehensive space? Can buildings and spaces that are being constructed for the conduct of missions, turn swiftly into civic asset, such as, schools, housing-blocks, medical clinics, or parks?
This part of the project was carried out in collaboration with the Netherlands Ministry of Defence, Foreign Affairs and Development.