In her State of the Union address on 16 September 2020, the President of the EU Commission, Ms Ursula von der Leyen, recalled the EU ambition to trigger a “renovation wave” in Europe and to become a leader in the circular economy.
In this respect, she stated: “this is not just an environmental or economic project: it needs to be a new cultural project for Europe. Every movement has its own look and feel. And we need to give our systemic change its own distinct aesthetic – to match style with sustainability. This is why we will set up a new European Bauhaus – a co-creation space where architects, artists, students, engineers, designers work together to make that happen”.
The Architects’ Council of Europe, which is a vigorous promoter of quality in the built environment, very much welcomes these words and congratulates the Commission for this initiative. ACE advocates for an holistic approach to building renovation – an approach that goes beyond energy efficiency considerations and seeks to optimise the economic, social, environmental and cultural values embodied in the existing building stock. In recent years, ACE has put a strong focus on the cultural dimension of the act of building, as it considers that culture is the driving force for quality in the built environment and in architecture. In 2018, ACE signed the Davos Declaration “Towards a high-quality Baukultur for Europe” and has been promoting its uptake ever since.
ACE President Georg Pendl said: “We welcome very much the allegory of a new European Bauhaus, as it means the cooperation of the various creative and technical professions; it also involves holistic thinking and approaches - not only focusing on a few technical data or purely technological solutions, important though they are - but firmly embedding such an holistic approach so that it becomes a first condition for development which is in harmony with our environment, and in particular our natural environment - the framework in which humanity is living”.
ACE very much looks forward to the launch of this initiative. It will do its best to support it and inform and mobilise the architectural community in Europe.