What we are looking for
Send us architectural or built environment examples/practices that your city or region has implemented that take into account at least one of the following topics:
Key words: placed-based solutions, climate, history, landscape, people, economy
A place-based approach is essential to ensure quality in the built environment. When creating or altering buildings or spaces, one should ensure that the result will fit well into the existing built, natural, and social environment. As stated in the Davos Baukultur Quality System [link: https://davosdeclaration2018.ch/en/dd;true/index/quality-system], one of the key questions is: does the place dialogue with the surrounding open landscape, urban grain, colour, and materiality?
- geographic: taking the climate of the area into account; using regional and traditional material, colours, and resources; considering the historical context, its coherence and identity; preserving the local heritage; considering the natural and built environment when commissioning contemporary creation.
- social: considering the population and its specific needs; providing easy access to infrastructure and efficient public transport;
- economic: planning for uses that match local needs; ensuring that areas dedicated to business are accessible by public transport and provide catering and leisure activities.
Key aspects your practice should feature:
- a strong political vision, as well as working with multiple stakeholders: public, private, and community.
- Good governance, coherence and coordination to align long-term goals, often involving many decision makers from different entities (local, regional, national).
- Local innovative governance models that could inspire other cities and regions.
Diversity - connecting people through the built environment
Key words: inclusion, gender, interaction, demography, accessibility
‘High-quality Baukultur ensures diversity by conceiving barrier-free and gender-equitable places – taking into account the needs of children and young people equally – to be able to contribute to social diversity and inclusion for all’ (Davos Baukultur Quality System).
Well-designed places encourage people to connect, resulting in communities with a high level of interaction, and more inclusive and cohesive societies.
Planning for all means taking demographics into account: ensuring that senior citizens, child, women, and persons with disabilities have easy access to buildings and spaces and can enjoy them without constraints (adapted public furniture, footpaths, etc.). It also means creating places where people from various age groups, genders, social and ethnic origins, and abilities can live and work.
Public spaces play a key role: they should be well-designed, barrier-free and safe.
Planning for all also means listening to people’s needs and wishes. This can be done through participatory governance.
Key challenges your practice can contribute to:
- How can villages, cities and regions, through high-quality architecture, planning and the built environment, meet the needs and expectations of changing populations and lifestyles? In the meantime, how to avoid segregation, gentrification and ghettoisation?
- How to you ensure that participatory models include all population groups, and not only those who are educated and informed about future developments in their area?
Sense of place - focus on spatial coherence
Key words: place attachment, identity, belonging, meaning, heritage
Sense of place in relation to Baukultur describes the relationship between people and their spatial settings, including concepts such as place attachment, place identity and place dependence.
People perceive the same city or area in different ways. However, they usually recognise common features (built environment or not) that they associate it to: a main square where festivals take place in the summer; a tower that you cannot miss in the landscape; a café that is part of the local heritage. Such elements foster authentic human attachment and belonging and give a special meaning to places.
Local cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, plays a key role in the sense of a place we should enhance and maintain them. Sense of place can be particularly present in regions that have a strong identity, local culture and language.
Creating or maintaining a sense of place is a guiding principle in designing liveable and high-quality built environments. Quality places can create and sustain a sense of place, strengthen identities and engender civic pride.
Specific points your practice can address:
- Will the building/space be coherent with the existing landscape and with the sense of the place?
- Will locals be proud of a new building or of a new square?
- Will its use be coherent with existing and traditional activities or landscapes?
- How does your city / region handle heritage linked to colonialism or totalitarianism in the public space?
- Acknowledging the architectural heritage and historical significance of dissonant heritage across Europe, and activating its full potential, requires a sensitive, careful and integrated approach that involves a variety of multiple actors. What can we learn from your experience?
Beauty - aesthetic, spatial and emotional impacts
Key words: emotions, value, quality, well-being, sustainability
Beauty as understood in Baukultur means that a place or landscape has a highly positive aesthetic, spatial and emotional impact on the person looking at it or living there. A ‘beautiful’ place provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction, leading to feelings of attraction and emotional well-being.
Beauty should always be connected to quality, ethics and sustainability.
Questions your practice may answer to:
- Does the place have an aesthetic, spatial and atmospheric impact on people? Does the place make people feel at ease?
- Do people perceive the place as beautiful?
- Is the place attributed specific aesthetic values, balanced between its formal qualities and its integration in its complex context?
- Does the place contribute to people’s well-being and life satisfaction?
Examples of submissions
With these topics in mind your practice could be about:
- Decision-making and good governance of high-quality architecture and built environment
- Transitioning towards more sustainable ways of life
- Applying circular economy principles to high-quality architecture and built environment
- Mitigation and adaptation to climate change
- Fostering inclusion in the built environment
- New uses for buildings and mixed spaces
- Attractive and qualitative public spaces
- Regeneration and attractiveness of city centres
- Participatory governance: planning with people
- New local and regional partnerships
- Financial and non-financial resources for high quality architecture and built environment
- Future-fit local administrations for high quality architecture and built environment
- Demonstrating that investing in high-quality architecture and built environment has positive impacts for the city / region
We welcome practices that cover several of these topics with a transversal approach.
Our consortium’s team of experts will review the received practices and select good practices for the catalogue based on:
- Strategic vision for high-quality architecture and built environment, including regeneration, revitalisation and adaptive-reuse of existing buildings
- Relevance regarding EU policy developments in the field of architecture and sustainable built environment, including the New European Bauhaus initiative
- Innovative aspects
- Engagement with communities and people
- Potential for replicability
- High impacts and results
- Thematic balance
- Geographical balance and spatial dimension