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Culture and Creativity

Published:  5 Oct 2021

New report provides recommendations to ensure high-quality architecture and built environment.

The report is the outcome of a Member State expert group, who proposes key criteria to assess the quality of places as well as policy recommendations to create a shared culture of architecture.

Explore Space!’ (‘Uuri ruumi!’) exhibition by Arhitektuurikool, in the Estonian Museum of Architecture in Tallinn, 2019. Courtesy of Arhitektuurikool. © Liisi Anvelt

As evidenced by the collected case studies and underlined by the recommendations in this report, high-quality design and well-considered interventions can sustain the life and authenticity of cultural assets and prevent the adverse loss of their cultural significance.

This is one of the main conclusions of the report that was presented at the final conference of the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) expert group held in Graz on 6 October 2021.

The report “Towards a shared culture of architecture - Investing in a high-quality living environment for everyone” suggests ways to operationalise quality criteria for architecture and built environment. The report is based on a collection of case studies that were gathered from multiple governance levels across Europe and that the 39 experts of the OMC group examined between 2020 and 2021.

The work of the OMC group on “High-quality architecture and built environment for everyone” was established under the priority ‘Cohesion and well-being’ of the Council of the European Union’s 2019-2022 Work Plan for Culture. Members of the OMC Group were nominated by 23 EU Member States, plus Norway and Switzerland. The European Commission coordinated the process.

A holistic approach to architecture and living spaces

Drawing from the Davos Baukultur Quality System published in May 2021, the objective of this report is also to demonstrate that criteria for quality living space and design should not be only functional, ecological or economic but also fulfil social, cultural and psychological needs as well as a general sense of belonging.

This report is closely related to the values of the New European Bauhaus and to a wider extent, the Green Deal. Indeed, this report defends a culture-centred approach to the living environment. The New European Bauhaus will therefore play a significant role in the implementation of quality principles set out in this report.

Recommendations and toolkit to operationalise quality criteria

The recommendations target different scales, such as EU policies, national frameworks and the local level, in addition to private-sector stakeholders and the professional realm.

One of the recommendations is that quality architecture and spatial design should become part of the multidisciplinary response to social and policy demands. The report also emphasises that relevant EU funding programmes (in particular the cohesion policy funds), as well as regional and local investment plans in the field of construction and urban planning should integrate the Davos quality criteria.

Awareness raising from an early age, capacity-building and co-creation are also strongly recommended to create a shared culture of (quality) architecture in Europe.

Besides the report and the executive summary (in 3 languages), a toolkit (in all EU languages) has been designed to help local and regional decision-makers assess the quality of places and building projects.

Published:  5 Oct 2021