Aldo and Hanny already went there

Inge Beckel
3. June 2016
The Dutch Pavilion under the motto of “BLUE: Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions” (Photo: Iwan Baan)

BLUE is the title of this year’s Biennale contribution at the Dutch Pavilion. It thematizes Dutch UN missions in Mali, Africa.

Everything inside the Dutch Pavilion is blue. The façade is covered by a blue net, which is evocative of one of the UN missions worldwide. The curator responsible for the pavilion is Malkit Shoshan, the director of the Amsterdam-based FAST think-tank. The full title of the contribution is BLUE: Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions, taking Camp Castor in the Malian city of Gao as its case study.
Principally, the United Nations states three “D”s as guidelines for the construction of camps: Defense, Diplomacy and Development. Shoshan wants to complement them with a fourth “D”: Design. Form and design of the camps have to be considered since these aspects influence the acceptance of the camps among the local population.
During the inauguration of the pavilion on the 26th of May, those responsible emphasized that the most recent UN operations as well as this Biennale contribution are not the first engagements of the Netherlands in Mali, and this also includes activities related to architectural issues. As is well known, Aldo and Hanny van Eijck explored the life and buildings of the Dogon people in the middle of the last century – Dogon settlements are located in Mali. Fittingly, the center of the Dutch pavilion features a Van Eyck circle of sand and concrete for fun as well as some serious discussions on the BLUE topic.

Inside BLUE (Photo: Iwan Baan)
170 cities with UN bases in Africa (Photo: Iwan Baan)

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