As the United Nations face growing challenges and become increasingly hampered by political debates, Maxime Benvenuto proposes an alternative, yet complementary approach. He introduces a Ministry of Humanism for each government to support the quest for global peace. To create a common ground for all participating nations, he has written a law that defines the aims and tasks of the Ministry. The underlying ideals are also translated into a design blueprint for buildings and furniture. These embody the pluralistic and polymorphous aspects of different cultures and are grounded in core ideas of equality and tolerance. By rendering irrational hope into rational terms and concrete proposals, Benvenuto aims to bring a brighter future a step closer.
The more in the ground, the more connected to reality, the more open minded.
This project was made in partnership with the city of The Hague, around the theme of “Peace and Justice”.
Everything started from the following analysis: Every international or national organisation working for peace is built around the ensuing duality: irrational / rational.
Irrational because everything starts from hope, one of the most irrational feelings the human brain creates; and rational because we support all these dreams with the most rational language, the laws, in order to create the structure in society to build the institutions in charge of ideals.
Based on this, Maxime Benvenuto looked for the irrational elements such as ideals and symbols within the rational texts of international laws, treaties and pacts. From these texts he could redefine five main ideals :
Concorde (Peace through the unity of people)
Protection (Health, Legal and Social Protection)
Liberty, Dignity, Equality
Using these five ideals as a program for peace, he proposed a Ministry of Humanism, in order to place the politics of peace and human well-being directly in the hands of those who are responsible for it: The governments.
In order to make the Ministry of Humanism tangible, Maxime Benvenuto wrote a law that defines the aims of the ministry, the functions of the ministers, the organisation and engagements of the institution. On the other hand, he also proposed a space for it and developed a proposal of architecture, interior design and furniture programme for the ministry.
All of these elements being as open as possible in order that any country may create its own Ministry of Humanism, with its own definitions, and embed it in its own historical, social, cultural, political and economical background and context.
Architectural Program :
"The Ministry of Humanism is conceived around a programme composed of 6 open parameters.
First, as written in the law on the ministry of humanism, each ministry must have a documentation center open to the public. The documents it contains are the foundations of the approach to human well-being and peace that is at the heart of the reflexion of the ministry.
It is therefore logical that this element finds its place at the base of the site, becoming in this way the physical and mental foundations of the ministry, supporting thoughts and acts.
Secondly, when one enters the site of the ministry of humanism, his progression through the space should never lead him to rise above, but on the contrary to go down into the ground. In this way, the further one goes, the lower he will get. The more in the ground, the more connected to reality, the more open minded.
Third, the public access must be separated by a garden. This garden should not escape the logic of the site. Therefore, it should be a low garden which keeps a strong relation with the ground it is in. The choice of plants will thus be orientated towards endemic species that have horizontal development.
Fourth, the seats should also not escape the principle of proximity with the ground. The closer to the ground one sits, the more the mind will open, and the slower the pace will become, allowing a certain level of discussion. Therefore all seats within the ministry should not go over 14 cm in height.
Fifth, in order to reinforce the opening of the minds and discussions within the ministry, walls and all forms of partition should be prohibited.
Finally, in order to have discussions or exchanges while avoiding dominating feelings due to the low seats, and in order as well to signify the diverse spaces without partitions, the “rooms” will be elevated so that one sitting at his post will find himself at approximately the same eye level as someone standing by the “room”. In this way, both people would have a discussion at equal level, without any feeling of domination or submission due to the other constraints of the site."