Following the announcement of the intention to create a new "European Bauhaus" by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, more light was shed on the initiative through publication of a new strategy "A Renovation Wave for Europe". The new strategy's main aim is to improve the energy performance of buildings - in the next ten years to at least double the annual energy renovation rate of residential and non-residential buildings and to foster deep energy renovations. According to the Commission, mobilising forces at all levels towards these goals will result in 35 million building units renovated by 2030.

Although at first sight it might seem rather limiting the scope for the new European Bauhaus to be included in what essentially is a refurbishment plan for the European building stock, the goals for the initiative are still very ambitious and reaching far beyond the built environment. The Commission wants the new European Bauhaus to facilitate a systemic change in the way we live. Through broad public engagement, co-creation, collaboration of art, science, engineering and culture, marrying sustainability with comfort and attractiveness;  the new movement is expected to bring about the green change in every home, to improve our lives by encouraging Europeans to take up sustainable solutions.

The 'Renovation Wave' document outlines two dimensions of the New European Bauhaus:

  • a network of thinkers, planners, architects, designers, entrepreneurs, students and citizens working together to develop sustainability in style;
  • a series of lighthouse projects, real existing building projects across the EU showcasing the potential of innovative sustainable solutions.

Creation of the movement will be based on collaborative principles of design. Three set-up phases will include:

  • Design -  to explore ideas and shape the movement with all interested stakeholders. From now until summer 2021, the Commission will conduct a broad participatory co-creation process with the aim of launching calls for proposals under the next Multi-Annual Framework in all relevant programmes.
  • Deliver -  the phase will start in the second half of 2021 and implement five New European Bauhaus projects in different EU Member States. All of them will be committed to sustainability, combined with art and culture; and each adapted to local conditions and with specific focus such as for instance: natural building materials, energy efficiency, demographics, future-oriented mobility or resource-efficient digital innovation.
  • Diffuse - to disseminate and promote a network of Bauhaus’ with different features, always keeping in mind the transformation towards living together sustainably. In this phase further Bauhaus’ can be added across the EU and even globally. 

The whole effort will be co-steered by an advisory board of external experts including scientists, architects, designers, artists, planners and civil society to make sure that the European Bauhaus will keep on track and deliver on the objectives.

It is now time for the whole design community to get on board and co-create "the greener, more beautiful and humane world of tomorrow."