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Architects with a Special Responsibility for Climate Protection: The European Green Deal and the “New European Bauhaus

Shortly after taking office as President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen formulated the “European Green Deal” in December 2019 with the declared goal of making the European Union climate neutral by 2050. In October 2020, the European Commission presented its strategy and priorities in the field of building renovation, the “Renovation Wave”. Two-thirds of all building investments in Germany go into existing buildings and the renovation of infrastructure, as the Bundesstiftung Baukultur (Federal Foundation for Building Culture) stated in its 2018/19 building culture report “Heritage – Existing Buildings – Future”. One of the measures proposed by the EU Commission is the initiative for the “New European Bauhaus” as an interdisciplinary project with an advisory board of external experts from science, architecture, art, planning and civil society.

In our responsibility as designers of the built environment, the sustainable use of limited resources is one of our guiding principles. Als Planer stehen wir gemeinsam mit unseren Auftraggebern in der Verantwortung, den Herausforderungen des globalen Klimawandels gerecht zu werden, ökologisch, technisch, soziokulturell und wirtschaftlich.

As architects and general planners, we have in-depth experience in the field of planning and building in existing contexts and the concrete implementation of sustainability goals – in the renovation, revitalisation, conversion and expansion of existing building fabric. The interdisciplinary discourse on this is firmly anchored in our everyday lives; be it in the struggle for the optimal solution in a concrete project, or in the mutually enriching exchange of opinions and experiences in professional and institutional networks such as the BDA Bund Deutscher Architektinnen und Architekten (Association of German Architects), the NAX Netzwerk Architekturexport (Architectural Export Network) of the Bundesarchitektenkammer (Federal Chamber of Architects) or the DGNB Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen (German Sustainable Building Council).

We therefore very much welcome the goal now explicitly formulated by the EU Commission to pursue sustainability in existing buildings as a high priority and to discuss and shape this in a “New European Bauhaus” with broad support from many stakeholders.

Further information:

„A new European Bauhaus“ – Factsheet of the EU-Commission

„Renovation wave“ – Information on the EU website

“Renovation wave of the EU must be implemented now”, appeal by over 40 associations, press release of the Federal Chamber of Architects

A new European Bauhaus? We’re in!” Dr. Christiane Lemaitre, in the blog of the DGNB German Sustainable Building Council

New European Bauhaus – On Ursula von der Leyen’s EU initiative“, David Kasparek, in BauNetz, 19.10.2020

Building Culture Report “Heritage – Existing – Future” 2018/19 of the Federal Foundation for Building Culture

The House of Earth. Positions for a Climate-Friendly Architecture in Town and Country“. Manifesto of the 15th BDA Day on 25.09.2019 in Halle (Saale)

Statement of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Union, during her statement on 16.10.2020 on the New European Bauhaus. Photo: European Union, 2020, EC - Audiovisual Service, Xavier Lejeune

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