We find ourselves in an era marked by significant challenges and a growing collective awareness of the limitations of our planet’s resources, a reality which everyone must learn to accept. Earth, humankind’s home, requires a worldwide movement to accelerate the overall transformation that can ensure a better future. Climate change cannot be solely explained by natural causes, indeed occurring mainly as a result of anthropogenic causes. Human actions generate emissions, lead to deforestation, and cause air pollution that, together with the resulting build-up of greenhouse gases, result in alarmingly fast warming across the globe. While addressing these issues, we need to provide environments which also take cultural and societal sustainability into account. The New European Bauhaus is therefore embraced as a platform with a holistic approach and a mission that provides a welcome framework for future action.
Changes in the climate affect terrestrial environments and ecosystems in a variety of ways. Countries in Southern Europe are dealing with, among other problems, increased signs of extreme climate events, rising temperatures, heat islands, desertification and drought. They also share rich histories and a cultural heritage which need careful protection while addressing these emergencies. Though issues like these are not easily dealt with, they lead us to question whether they should be addressed differently in different regions around the world.
Closer co-operation and co-design between Southern European countries could strengthen their ability to cope when faced with their common threats and develop social and nature-based solutions together—solutions that are therefore sustainable while still accessible, affordable, inclusive, and aesthetically qualified as the New European Bauhaus strives to inspire.
We believe that a common effort must be made. We aim to bring together innovation and creativity, combining art with technology, by crossing disciplinary boundaries, in order to question practices and imagine new possibilities. New design and innovation can be more easily achieved and adapted to real problems by taking into account regions which share similar climates, ecosystems, cultures, and societal problems. This shift in thinking about climate, resources, and socially inclusive solutions implies responses tailored to each region that must be discussed and built together.
NEB goes South acknowledges this common geographical and cultural legacy. For that reason, six schools of architecture at universities from six different countries are joining forces to create a pan-European platform for meetings and discussion, with the ability to broaden and enhance international debate on co-designing sustainable solutions while bringing people from different backgrounds together.
Education is our common goal. We believe that creative solutions available to everyone are crucial to change mindsets and make citizens aware of the key issues of our time. That effort needs to take into consideration the critical role of higher education and research institutions to promote inclusive participation and to organize and disseminate results.
This pan-European platform stems from the idea that understanding and mapping the particularities of Southern Europe and providing free access and inclusivity to contemporary discourses and opportunities to disseminate experiences will contribute to the building of a new culture guided by the key concepts of New European Bauhaus: sustainability, inclusiveness, well-being and aesthetics.
NEB goes South is jointly organised by the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto, the Valencia School of Architecture, the Toulouse School of Architecture, the Department of Architecture, Alma Mater Studiorum, of the University of Bologna, the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Zagreb, and the School of Architecture of the National Technical University Athens.
NEB goes South hopes to introduce a step forward by combining the efforts of students, architects, designers, engineers, geographers, sociologists, and other scientists and artists, with the ideas of everybody interested, to create a Southern perspective for New European Bauhaus goals to contribute to a climate neutral Europe by 2050.
June 7th 2021