EUABOUT ATTENDS… “The New European Bauhaus Conference” sponsored by the EC
On April 23, the conference about the Launch of the New European Bauhaus (NEB) sponsored by the EC took place online. The New European Bauhaus is being developed following a bottom-up approach and is currently in its “co-design” phase, which was launched on 18 January 2021 by the two responsible EU Commissioners: Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, and Elisa Ferreira, EU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms. This first phase shall lead to shape the concept of Bauhaus by exploring ideas, identifying the most urgent needs and challenges, and connecting interested stakeholders.
Commissioner Mariya Gabriel stated: “The New European Bauhaus is about how we live together, our values, our common spaces of work and leisure, our collective and private experiences. This is a project for all regions and territories in Europe. In promoting affordable solutions, it should contribute to social cohesion and to solving housing problems.”
As an introduction, the Commissioners reminded the audience about the European Green Deal and how it is meant to represent the current Commission’s growth strategy in a way that will last for generations ahead, as the NEB is the cultural expression of this growth effort so that no one will be left behind on the continent.
The New European Bauhaus Prizes will be given out in the following 10 categories: Techniques and materials; Building a spirit of circularity; Solutions for the co-evolution of built environment and nature; Regenerated urban and rural spaces; Preserved and transformed cultural heritage; Products and lifestyle; Reinvented places to meet and share; Culture, art and communities; Modular, adaptable and mobile living solutions; Interdisciplinary education models. What ultimately stands at the core of each one of them and unites them is the theme of innovation. The two parallel strands are the New European Bauhaus Awards that will recognize existing achievements, and New European Bauhaus Rising Stars - dedicated to young people, visionaries and talents under 30.
During the afternoon session, the speakers introduced a panel discussion about the transformative ideas for the New European Bauhaus. Zdeněk Hřib, Mayor of Prague highlighted the importance of implementing the NEB in the local context, by creating a centre for architecture and planning in the city of Prague, by constructing a new philharmonic concert hall in order to engage citizens at the local level with the introduction of gradual strategic interventions.
In this regard, Sabine Verheyen, MEP and Chair, Committee on Culture Education (CULT), European Parliament added that the NEB is more than just architecture bringing together artists, local citizens, engineers, craftsmen, but it is a sustainable approach to develop cities and buildings closer to nature. As well as, Elisa Ferreira focused on the different opportunities all over Europe to be catched from all perspectives (regions, cities, rural, mountainous).
The other two major issues discussed were the concepts of participation and innovation. In this sense, Mariya Gabriel and Francesca Bria, President of the Italian National Innovation Fund, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) expressed the necessity to bring together the power of culture, innovation and youth by investing in cultural programmes and companies, working in synergy, thanks also to the new Citizen’s platform which will allow to fund technology and get young people and citizens to participate on the ground. Their opinions were shared by Nuno Jardim Nunes, President, Interactive Technologies Institute (ITI) and National Director of the Carnegie Mellon International Partnership, who expressed the need to form a new generation and to inspire youth people about the future in order to achieve the NEB goals, as they have to feel empowered to change the future.
As part of the debate on the future of Europe, the NEB has to be based on transformation, made by innovation plus governance, as well as on rules and cohesion funds, as suggested by John Schellnhuber, Founding Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Former Chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change.
The conclusion of the event has seen the Commissioner Mariya Gabriel declaring: “We have to change our attitude and our portfolio and we have to stay as a community. Every citizen will be the co-designer and co-producer in the creation of the New Bauhaus Conference”.