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agenda  29-04-2021  

COMMON GROUND- Making the Renovation Wave a Cultural Project

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The conference is designed to be a participatory and multidisciplinary event, enabling people from various academic and professional background to meet and exchange ideas on how to shape the New European Bauhaus. Also we, as interior architects and designers, have a voice in this conversation and in the building of the New European Bauhaus!


The New European Bauhaus initiative connects the European Green Deal to our living spaces. It calls on all Europeans to imagine and build together a sustainable and inclusive future that is beautiful for our eyes, minds, and souls. The New European Bauhaus is a creative and interdisciplinary movement in the making, and you can be part of it! The New Bauhaus initiative opens the door to a more holistic approach to our built environment, seeking to enhance, at the same time, economic, social, environmental and cultural values, as well as access to culture and cultural participation. This can be the start of a game-changing policy, as it promotes a holistic approach, not only including the quality of the design, but putting it at the core.


The New European Bauhaus Collective (NEBC) is initiated by the Architect’s Council of Europe (ACE) and is grouping several pan-European organisations representing architects, spatial planners, landscape architects, interior architects, engineers, designers, artists, educators and researchers of the built environment, and more broadly the cultural and creative sectors. The NEBC released in November 2020 a statement to express initial views on the New European Bauhaus and offer its support to the Commission.


So please join the conversation, let’s shape the New European Bauhaus together!


Online conference – COMMON GROUND- Making the Renovation Wave a Cultural Project – Thursday 29 April, 10h00 to 15h30 CET


Following the State of the Union speech by the President of the European Commission in September 2020, several pan-European organisations representing the cultural and creative sectors (full list below) came together to exchange views on how to best support and contribute to the promising New European Bauhaus initiative.


In November 2020, this informal group named New European Bauhaus Collective (NEBC), published a joint Statement – Making the Renovation Wave a Cultural Project – and it was recently selected by the European Commission as an Official Partner of the New European Bauhaus. In their joint effort to support the New European Bauhaus, on Thursday 29 April 2021, members of the NEB Collective are organising on an online conference. In the spirit of the New European Bauhaus, this conference is designed to be a participatory and multidisciplinary event, enabling people from various academic and professional background to meet and exchange ideas on how to shape the New European Bauhaus.


The event will aim to explore culture as a key driver of quality in the built environment. It will be an opportunity to debate how a holistic approach that considers and seeks to optimise drivers of sustainability, beauty and inclusiveness can contribute to design and achieve better living spaces, for the common good.


A key part of the programme will consist of 11 break-out sessions, during which conference participants will be invited to discuss and express views on specific issues and challenges relating to the New European Bauhaus: education, quality, bio-sourced materials, sustainability, research, mobility, heritage, to name but a few. Outcomes of the debate will feed into the ongoing co-creation phase of the NEB initiative.


Interpretation in French-English will be provided.


The conference will be web-streamed live from the ACE website.







10h00 WELCOMING WORDS: Andrea THILO, Master of Ceremonies


10h05 OPENING SPEECH: Ursula von der LEYEN, President of the EU Commission




–  Lionel DEVLIEGER, project leader at Rotor


–  Stine Marie JACOBSEN, conceptual artist




The New European Bauhaus reflects an ambition that is shared by many citizens and decision-makers, namely to make our built and living spaces more sustainable, beautiful and inclusive. This round table will bring together representatives from cities to discuss how local public authorities can translate this shared ambition into concrete initiatives and projects.

With the participation of:

  • Emil BOC, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca
  • Emmanuel GRÉGOIRE, City of Paris, Vice Mayor in charge of Urbanism, Architecture and Grand Paris
  • Xavier MATILLA, Chief Architect of the city of Barcelona
  • Josef MATHIS, former Mayor of Zwischenwasser, Board member of Landluft
  • Representatives from the city of Oslo (TBC)






Participants in the conference will be invited to join one of the 11 thematic break-out sessions proposed below in order to discuss issues and challenges raised by the New European Bauhaus in specific areas. Outcomes of the debates will then feed into the NEB co-design process.

  • LAB 1 / INVENTING THROUGH EVERYDAY MAKING: the contribution of practice-driven research in art, architecture and design: Through the presentation of best practice examples followed by debate with participants, this session will aim to explore how practice-driven research in art, architecture and design can contribute to achieve the goals of the New European Bauhaus. Facilitated by EAAE, ARENA and ELIA
  • LAB 2 / EDUCATING FOR THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: life-long and “life-wide” learning in arts, architecture and engineering: Expanding artists’, architects’ and engineers’ knowledge on sustainable, cultural and social development through life-long learning is crucial to achieving the goals of the NEB. Inclusive practices demand reconsidering who can access education opportunities, how and at what stages in their life, removing as many barriers as possible: life-long as well as life-wide learning. Via a multi-perspective approach, we will reflect upon education, share ideas, experiences and best practices on how to facilitate and capitalise interconnections among different stakeholders, students of all ages and professionals of several disciplines contributing to the key objectives of the NEB. Facilitated by EAAE, ARENA, ELIA and ACE
  • LAB 3 / UNCOMMON GROUND: session on rural areas: Working with rural societies is critical to any re-thinking of our relationship with ecology. The urgent need to take stock of the complex and disturbing nature-cultural dynamics that are de-structuring the habitability of the planet is acutely understood in our varied and contested country-sides. This session will aim to discuss how design and philosophy can help to conceptualise and realise rural futures that are biodiverse, inclusive and innovative. Facilitated by ARENA and IFLA-Europe.
  • LAB 4/ SEEINGTHECITYASALANDSCAPE:How can cities become more regenerative,and is there a way for them to rediscover their living base? This is one of the questions covered by this break-out session, with reference to various experiences, approaches and visions for the city of tomorrow. The idea of an ‘augmented landscape’ – adapting tomorrow’s urban and rural territories to climate challenges to meet the societal needs of a territory more in touch with its longstanding roots – is the subject for discussion regarding the future of European inhabited territories. Facilitated by IFLA- Europe.
  • LAB 5 / PRAGMATIC ALLIANCE: CRAFT, EARTH, TIMBER – New European Bauhaus meets Building Culture Vorarlberg: The session aims to explore alternative building resources such as earth and wood. Earth is currently the only material that aligns completely with fully sustainable building principles such as the cradle-to-cradle approach and is 100% recyclable. Depending on the context, earth can be used in low-tech modes of construction or in high-tech ones. It is available almost everywhere and in combination with timber, in Europe, or bamboo, in Asia, is a key component to promote sustainable architecture. Facilitated by Clarissa Rhomberg and Anna Heringer.
  • LAB 6 / COMMON GOOD: Quality of the built environment: While there is a broad consensus on the fact that a high-quality built environment impacts positively on people’s everyday lives and is of common good, it can prove difficult for public authorities, project developers and built environment professionals to assess and guarantee the quality of the buildings and urban spaces they commission and design. The break-out session will aim to explore the concept of quality in a built environment and shed light on good practices for its assessment. Facilitated by ACE.
  • LAB 7 / SOLAR CITIES WITH SOLAR MOBILITY: exploring contributions to the New European Bauhaus: Solar mobility innovations will enable new designs of automotive electric vehicles and their interaction with the built and social environment. Solar mobility carries huge potential for European cities, with design, research and development challenges ahead involving a wide range of disciplines and cultural viewpoints. The session will aim to discuss how solar can support and accelerate more sustainable urban mobility with elegant and beautiful solutions. Facilitated by ASOM.
  • LAB 8 / THE SPIRIT OF FORMER FACTORIES LIVES ON: citizen spaces re-purposed for Imagination, Solidarity, Care and Memory: What makes the spirit of a space? Is it the “artist” or “producer” or “manager” or “architect” or “public administrator” or “citizen”? Or all of the above? It is the people and how they experience the space for sure. So, how to work on that experience? There are many aspects to running a grassroots cultural space, from mediating to renovation, from artistic programme to community management. In this session, we will discuss with cultural practitioners who are part of the Trans Europe Halles network their experience with the re-purposing processes and their benefits for a more sustainable and harmonious society in Europe. Facilitated by Trans Europe Halles.
  • LAB9/ADAPTIVE  RE-USE:preservingandenhancingthevaluesofourbuiltenvironment:Due to evolutions in our economies and societies, many heritage sites, whether listed or not, are nowadays disused or have lost the functions for which they were originally built. However, heritage buildings that have lost their original function still embody cultural, historic, spatial and economic values. Adaptive re-use offers itself as a strategy aimed at preserving those elements that contain these values, while at the same time adapting the place for new uses. Facilitated by Europa Nostra and ACE.
  • LAB 10 / WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY? – different perceptions: For many years, the term “sustainability” has been widely used everywhere and by anyone, even in political soap-box speeches. But what does it really mean? The session will aim to clarify the need for a common definition of this concept and to learn more about how it is perceived and understood in the society. Facilitated by ECEC and ARENA
  • LAB 11 / PARTICIPATORY PRACTICES: The session will aim to explore how collective and participatory processes led by artists and cultural agents can catalyse the challenges of sustainable environmental practices based upon the strategic collaboration between various disciplines and sectors in the following areas of work: collective research, collective creation and protection of the commons, and collective prototyping. Facilitated by CAE




14h00 DEBRIEFING OF THE BREAK-OUT SESSIONS: Round table with the rapporteurs of all break-out Sessions




15h15 CLOSING REMARKS: Marcos ROS SEMPERE, Member of the European Parliament







The Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) is the representative organisation for the architectural profession at European level. Its membership consists of 43 Member Organisations, which are the regulatory and professional representative bodies in all EU Member States, UK, Switzerland and Norway. Through them, the ACE represents the interests of 562.000 architects from 31 countries in Europe.


The Architectural Research European Network Association (ARENA) is an open, inclusive and comprehensive network for architectural researchers across Europe. Founded in 2013, ARENA at present consists of 38 research centre representatives from 35 institutions in 15 different European countries.


The Alliance for Solar Mobility (ASOM) aims to become the cooperative European platform to establish and foster Solar Mobility. We share a vision of solar powered, eco-positive electric transport, a passion for functional and beautiful products and multi-disciplinary engineering and design. ASOM’s members are research institutes, companies, universities and design schools.


Culture Action Europe (CAE) is the major European network of cultural networks, organisations, artists, activists, academics and policymakers. It is the first port of call for informed opinion and debate about arts and cultural policy in the EU. As the only intersectoral network, it brings together all practices in culture, from the performing arts to literature, the visual arts, design and cross-arts initiatives, to community centres and activist groups. CAE believes in the value and values of culture and its contribution to the development of sustainable and inclusive societies.


The European Association for Architectural Education (EAAE) is the network for architectural and planning schools in Europe. The purpose of the Associations is to advance the quality of education and research in all areas of the built environment and thus to promote the quality of architecture and urban landscape in Europe. The EAAE promotes the interests of 135 member schools as institutions and academic environments, lobbies for common goals and connects globally.


The European Council of Engineers Chambers (ECEC) is the umbrella organisation of European Engineers Chambers. It represents the professional interest of Chartered Engineers on European level. Its members are national Chambers or other legally established public bodies representing authorized Chartered Engineers. Currently the ECEC represents 16 Chambers and over 300.000 highly qualified European Chartered Engineers who are members in these Chambers.


The European Council of Interior Architects (ECIA) is the representative body for the professional organizations in Interior Architecture and Design. Founded in 1992, ECIA currently represents 17 European Member – National Organizations and through them, the interests of over 14.000 professional Interior Architects/Designers.


The European Council of Spatial Planners (ECTP) brings together 28 professional spatial planning associations and institutes from 24 European countries as well as corresponding members. It is an umbrella association providing its members with a common framework to promote the visibility, recognition of the important societal role and practice of planning and urban development in Europe.


ELIA is a globally connected European network that provides a dynamic platform for exchange and development in higher arts education. It represents 260 member institutions in 48 countries, with over 300.000 students across all art disciplines. By placing emphasis on the value of arts education and artistic research, ELIA is dedicated to enhancing the conditions in which higher arts education can flourish, both nationally and internationally.


Europa Nostra is the European Voice of Civil Society committed to Cultural Heritage. For over 50 years, we have celebrated, protected and advocated for Europe’s natural and cultural heritage. Europa Nostra is today recognised as the largest and most representative heritage network in Europe, with 350 member and associate organisations and over 1,000 individual members from over 40 countries in Europe and beyond. We are forceful advocates of heritage – with its multiple benefits for our economy, society, culture and the environment – towards policy-makers at all levels of governance: local, regional, national and European. We campaign to save Europe’s most endangered heritage sites and promote best practices in the heritage field across Europe.


ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 1,750 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 100+ countries, we influence sustainability policy and drive local action for low emission, nature- based, equitable, resilient and circular development. ICLEI Europe provides its members with a voice on the European and international stage, a platform to connect with peers and tools to drive positive environmental, economic and social change. ICLEI Europe works closely with an extended network of local and regional governments and partners on a broad range of topics.


IFLA Europe is the European Region of the International Federation of Landscape Architects formed by 34 professional Landscape Architects’ Associations with 20.000 landscape architects across Europe. It aims not only to promote the landscape architecture profession, recognising excellence in educational courses and promoting the best practice operations, but also striving to enhance the quality of landscape planning, monitoring and management, provide nature-based solutions in climate change mitigation and adaptation and ensure transformational changes in landscape, urban and rural areas.


Trans Europe Halles (TEH) is a network of grassroots cultural centres with members in 38 European countries. With 131 members, TEH is one of the oldest and most dynamic cultural networks in Europe. We have been at the forefront of repurposing abandoned buildings for arts, culture and activism since 1983. Our three founding pillars are: People, Arts and Buildings.


The German Academy for Urban and Regional Spatial Planning (DASL) aims to support urban and regional spatial planning in theory and practice. The Academy also provides a forum in which people from a wide range of interests across the economy and society can pursue their shared interest in territorial development in discussion with planning professionals.


The Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (SIA) is Switzerland’s leading professional association for construction, technology and environment specialists. With over 16,000 members from the fields of engineering and architecture, the SIA is a highly professional and interdisciplinary network whose central aim is to promote sustainable and high-quality design of the built environment in Switzerland.

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