Skating School Skateistan, Kabul, Afghanistan, © Skateistan,

Bagh-e Babur Garden, Kabul, Afghanistan, © Christian Richters. With permission of Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

Against the Grain, Divided Cities and the Architecture of Peace

Visitors centre, Pamir-i-Buzurg, Afghanistan, © AFIR Architects/Anne Feenstra.

The Cupar Way ‘peace wall’ divides a Unionist/Protestant area and a Nationalist/Catholic area in West Belfast, Northern Ireland, © Rosaleen Hickey.

The Home for Cooperation H4C in the buffer zone in Nicosia, Cyprus, is a shared space for both communities, © Kai Vöckler.


Pinakothek der Moderne
Architekturmuseum der TU München
Barer Straße 40
+49 89 23805360
The Good Cause:
Architecture of Peace – Divided Cities

July 17-October 19, 2014

War and conflict remain a constant across time. To confront this reality, peace missions, rebuilding operations and international law have been developed as tools to help create stability and peace after conflict. This is very impressive indeed, but the road to sustainable peace is arduous and difficult. Furthermore, rebuilding and urban planning strategies can rekindle old conflicts. This exhibition The Good Cause shows through inspiring case studies from Afghanistan, Kosovo, South Africa, Rwanda, Israel and Palestine, what reconstruction could look like if it were designed with an eye for local conditions. This requires a specific attitude and strategy, for example modesty, sensitivity to context, trust, and attention on continuity. These ‘factors for success’ are examined for each case study.

For the general public in Western Europe this is often perceived as a remote issue, far removed from everyday life. But let’s not forget that Germany as a nation is present in many armed conflicts all over the world. The presence of German troops in peace missions and the impact of refugee migration in Germany, and Munich in particular, represent a direct link to our daily lives.

A separate element is dedicated to the reality of divided cities in Europe as a consequence of ethno-national violent conflicts. Examples will specify how unsolved conflicts can be counteracted with non-violent means and thus contribute to end the separation. The exhibition presents planning and architectural projects as part of a planning strategy across the divide in Belfast (Northern Ireland) and Nicosia (Cyprus), as well as the creation of shared spaces for multiple communities, as seen in Mostar (Bosnia-Hercegovina) and Mitrovica (Kosovo). Other strategies to overcome the divide include dealing with the idea of a shared history, which can be preserved or by creating projects for a shared future – a future development in need for all citizens. Last but not least, activists, artists, and architects are creating ‘thirdspaces’, virtual and real spaces not perceived as related to the conflict.

Architecture of Peace (AoP) is an long term international research project that was initiated by Archis in collaboration with many partners. The exhibition is curated by Lilet Breddels, Arjen Oosterman and Kai Vöckler and coproduced by the Architekturmuseum der TU München.

Visitors centre, Pamir-i-Buzurg, Afghanistan. One of the over 100 unskilled workers holding a design drawing, © AFIR Architects/Anne Feenstra.

View on the Spanish Square and the former front line at Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, © Sune Fredskild

Queen’s Palace, Bagh-e Babur Garden, Kabul, Afghanistan, rehabilitated into an outdoor theatre, © Aga Khan Trust for Culture.