A year after the Bauhaus centennial recentered the German design school and its contributions to just about everything, European Commission (EC) president Ursula von der Leyen called for a new “European Bauhaus” that would launch the architectural style of a climate-neutral Europe in her 2020 State of the Union speech last week.
Von der Leyen made her new Bauhaus proposal amid remarks about a European Green Deal and a proposal for the European Union (EU) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030. The commission’s current target is to reduce emissions by 40 percent by 2030. According to von der Leyen, this change would put the EU on track to be carbon neutral by 2050 and to meet its Paris Agreement obligations. She also announced billions of dollars worth of investments in green technology and infrastructure.
In her speech, available online here, von der Leyen also promoted timber construction and smart building technology as ways to reduce the environmental impact of buildings and construction, and to jumpstart the economy post-COVID.
Online reports of von der Leyen’s remarks don’t go into detail about what the EC president imagines a European Bauhaus to be or how it would be funded. An EC press release called the hypothetical institution “a co-creation platform for architects, engineers, and designers.”
The original Bauhaus school was influential in refining and promoting modernist principles in architecture, the arts, and design. A new institution with a similar impact could change the direction of architecture for the rest of the century, especially if funding is secured.