New European Bauhaus Nexus Report: how will the initiative move forward?

Image via Pixabay
Image via Pixabay

This month, the New European Bauhaus initiative released an independently produced report on how the initiative will pan out over the coming years: the “Horizon Europe – New European Bauhaus Nexus Report”. The report names a number of challenges to address, which will require input and innovation from multiple sectors.

One and a half years from the launch of the project, this report marks out a roadmap until 2024. Read the full report here.

New European Bauhaus: what does it mean for heritage?

Taking inspiration from the Bauhaus artist school founded in 1919, the New European Bauhaus (NEB) is an ambitious European initiative to make society more sustainable, aesthetic, and inclusive. It follows from the European Green Deal, but is focused on using an artistic spirit to actively conquer our modern crises.

With its focus on inclusivity and aesthetics, the NEB is not simply solving problems only through technology and construction. These three core values of the project mean that it includes the cultural sector too. As such, the initiative will bring together innovation and heritage. Local communities will be a key part of this, providing grassroots support. These are all ambitious ideas, but it raises the common concern of whether a large project can connect to small communities in a meaningful way.

A Bauhaus for cultural heritage

For cultural heritage, the NEB is clearly important. Re-envisioning our urban spaces, for example, will inevitably involve cultural heritage. The initiative wants to utilise traditional artisanry, both for the cultural beauty that it can provide, but also to recover sustainable methods that might have been outpaced by cheaper modern alternatives.

With its focus on re-investing into buildings that already exist, rather than funding endless construction of new infrastructure, the NEB will inherently fall onto cultural heritage. Old buildings are often difficult to sustain, and the initiative seeks to use innovation to aid this. Similarly, heritage can be used to guide innovation.

Fundamentally, the NEB aims towards a circular economy, which is a model of production which minimises waste and encourages the reuse and recycling of everything.

Recover and valorise ‘lost’ and under-utilised traditional knowledge in architectural design and material, and construction artisanry, through both educational curricula and every-day practice.

Horizon Europe and New European Bauhaus NEXUS report, page 13.

In our current climate crisis, these goals are laudable. Much of the project is very logical, and bringing together engineers, students, and artists is a positive step towards the end goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Back to the report

The report raises some critical questions about whether the project will be able to meet its lofty goals. Primarily, the report is hesitant to provide any direct action. The budget is unclear, and as with many European initiatives, the process for grassroots organisations to get involved is not mentioned. Similarly, the scope of the project is very broad, stretching across eight organisations at a European level. It is difficult to see how the NEB intends to connect the creative and construction sectors under this umbrella of ‘New European Bauhaus’.

The original Bauhaus movement was spontaneous and supported by an artistic spirit. It is still unclear as to how the NEB can thrive if this artistic spirit is trapped beneath bureaucracy. Nevertheless, the message of sustainability should remain a core value of cultural heritage for the future.

This article was originally published in English. Texts in other languages are AI-translated. To change language: go to the main menu above.