Europa Nostra fully endorses the Davos Baukultur Quality System also as key principles for the New European Bauhaus

On 17 May 2021, the Swiss Federal Office of Culture (FOC) published the Davos Baukultur Quality System, developed in cooperation with international partners, including Europa Nostra. The Quality System is a major contribution to the New European Bauhaus initiative of the European Commission and to ongoing Davos Process that began in 2018 with the adoption of the Davos Declaration “Towards a high-quality Baukultur for Europe”, which Europa Nostra fully supported and continues to endorse. High-quality Baukultur, as defined by the Davos Declaration of 2018, is characterised by well-designed, enjoyable living spaces that preserve the historical value of the built environment, respond to societal needs and are good for people‘s well-being and health. The recently published Davos Baukultur Quality System will enable the assessment of Baukultur qualities of places with the help of eight criteria, each one of them accompanied by assessment forms to facilitate evaluation and support planning.

Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, who had represented Europa Nostra at the Davos Conference held in January 2018, applauded the publication of this document and recalled that “Since its adoption in 2018, Europa Nostra has praised and strongly endorsed the Davos Declaration and its ecological, ethical and aesthetic concept of a high-quality living environment as the basis for a better and more inclusive quality of life for our citizens and communities. This Quality System is a step forward to facilitate the implementation of the Baukultur principles in Europe and beyond, including within the framework of the New European Bauhaus movement”.

The Quality System proposes the following eight criteria: Governance, Functionality, Environment, Economy, Diversity, Context, Sense of Place and Beauty. Moreover, its operational approach aims to support planning and project design, competition judging and participatory processes. It also incorporates and weights social, historic, emotional and cultural values equally to technical and functional aspects. The quality system includes an assessment form with a questionnaire for each one of the eight criteria. This questionnaire can be adapted to the specific situation of a place or project and expanded if necessary. The completed questionnaire is used to determine the Baukultur quality of a place as well as its strengths and weaknesses from a Baukultur perspective.

The Davos Baukultur Quality System is a major contribution to the New European Bauhaus initiative launched by the European Commission and to the final report of the European Member States’ Expert Group on High-quality Architecture and Built Environment for Everyone which will be published in September 2021. Europa Nostra recognises the need to create synergies between the Davos Baukultur Quality Principles, the New European Bauhaus, the European quality principles for EU-funded interventions with potential impact upon cultural heritage published by ICOMOS in 2018 and other relevant European policies and actions related to the built environment, including the European Green Deal and the EU Urban Agenda.

In this regard, Sneška Quaedvlieg – Mihailovic stated “At a time when we are collectively designing the New European Bauhaus movement, the Davos Quality System is a most relevant and inspiring contribution, as well as an operational tool to make our living places more beautiful, inclusive and sustainable. The Davos Baukultur Quality System, such as the New European Bauhaus, does not limit its vision and scope to architecture alone: they both call for a holistic approach that emcompasses the social and cultural fabric as well as environmental, economic and technical considerations. They are about improving how and where we live together, in harmony with our historic and natural environment. They are also rooted on the idea of a collective responsibility of society for the built environment – thus, complementarities and synergies among the two are to be developed and reinforced”.

About the Davos Declaration

At their meeting in Davos on 22 January 2018, the European Ministers of Culture adopted a Declaration that calls for a policy of high-quality Baukultur for Europe. The Davos Declaration highlights the central role of culture in our built environment and expresses its vision for a high-quality Baukultur, stressing its benefits for society and the requirements to reach it. Europa Nostra’s Secretary General Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović participated as an observer at the Ministerial Conference upon invitation of the President of the Swiss Confederation Alain Berset. Read more here.

Read the full document: The Davos Baukultur Quality System; Eight criteria for a high-quality Baukultur.

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