After a ceasefire in a conflict area, local society often remains divided. My goal in this project was to find out what kind of program and architectural language would stimulate the reconciliation process in a multi-ethnic environment after a civil conflict in Moldova.
Situation. Problem. Personal motivation.
Over the last 30 years, more than 70 million people have been forcibly displaced worldwide, mainly as a result of conflicts. And once the immediate threat of violence is over, the major challenge remains: how to build a harmonious society in the post-conflict areas.
Since the ceasefire after the civil armed conflict in Moldova in 1992, a complete resolution has still not been achieved. The Moldovan society is ethnically and linguistically divided. Identity crisis, economic stagnation, corruption, and political distrust characterize the country. It is painful to see how social tension freezes the development potential of my motherland. As a master interior architect, I want to design spaces that promote mutual understanding and the exchange of thoughts and feelings. My research question in this project is: How can interior space stimulate the reconciliation process in a multi-ethnic environment after a civil conflict?
Research process. Design tool. Result.
I have started this project by building a values matrix for different target groups. A spatial program that can be attractive for people even with opposite ideologies has been derived from the matrix: It is a multi-lingual theater school for children in a city park in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova.
At the same time, on basis of an existing psychological research, I have analyzed how spatial aspects can evoke negative or positive feelings that can increase social tension, or the opposite – improve interaction. Such experiments with mock-ups and scenarios resulted in a toolbox with a dozen of methods and instruments. I have used this toolbox as a guideline in the design of the interior spaces that can stimulate the reconciliation process in the multi-ethnic post-conflict environment.
During this project, I have worked together with the local community, a film director, a psychologist, and peacemakers. The multi-lingual theater school in Chisinau can be a catalyst for mutual understanding, a place with a neutral interior that brings people together, regardless of their political affiliation or background. In this way, it can help pave the way for a peaceful and fair society.