The project, Re-use of modernist buildings. RMB wants to initiate an educational framework of common definitions, approaches, and methodologies on a European level. It is based on existing research, educational practices and reference projects in the European countries. RMB will develop a Joint master on reuse of modernist buildings. The preparation and development of this master will take form, from Sept 2016 until August 2019.
The Project Partners:
HS OWL, Detmold School for Architecture and Interior Architecture – Germany (Applicant);
ITU, Department of Architecture –Turkey;
ULisboa, Instituto Superior Técnico –Portugal;
Universidade de Coimbra, Faculty of Science and Technology – Portugal;
University of Antwerp, Faculty of Design Sciences –Belgium;
DOCOMOMO International –Portugal
and associate partner ´the energy and resources institute´ (TERI) – New Dehli, India
The project consortium took form by selecting partners according to their complementary experiences and competencies in the field of design methodology, practical adaptive reuse, refurbishment and improvement and policy-making on housing and urban development. Since one of the aims of RMB is to combine a broad spectrum of European practices the partners are geographically chosen accordingly.
Demographic and climate change has resulted in huge qualitative and quantitative challenges and demands for the European building sector. The need for suitable and affordable housing in the city centers and urban agglomerations is increasing and cannot, and should not, be fulfilled with new constructions only. A major task for the building industry should be realized through the refurbishment of the existing housing stock, as well as conversion from other building typologies such as warehouses and offices, with a special focus on the so-called modernist era.
Given the differing vintage of the building stock and its expected development non-OECD countries (OECD = Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) face huge growth in expected construction. OECD countries have a large stock of residential buildings, most built before 1970, that is not growing quickly and will be retired slowly. Currently, the rate of residential building refurbishment to improve envelope efficiency is low, estimated to be 1% per year (BPIE, 2011). Urgent policy action is required because energy efficiency refurbishments are potentially expensive and likely to make economic sense during major refurbishments that occur only every 30 or more years
Source: Transition to Sustainable Buildings, OECD/IEA (2013)
RMB is unique in its identification of the main study subject since it focuses on a very specific, oft problematic, very important segment of the building stock; modernist architecture. Neighbourhoods, quarters and buildings from this era are in danger of being destroyed with the risk of specific cultural elements and environments at loss.
Three aspects in Focus
Modernist architecture can be characterized on the level of modernist technology, modernist architecture concepts and the societal impacts of modernism.
On a technological level, refurbishment shows how difficult modern structures are to adapt to high contemporary standards. Modernist architectures experimental nature, its fragile constructive systems makes its attractiveness but also its vulnerability to non-professional refurbishments.
On a conceptual level, modernist architecture shows a re-definition of the habitat trough new inside- outside relations and open floor plans, supported on innovative urban design goals. This was a major effort to prevent from the excesses caused by the unhealthy, unhygienic industrialized cities. Modernist architects sought for new worldwide solutions for cities and buildings. Once innovative and very adequate, today modernist typologies for housing and other communal facilities such as schools, often don´t meet our contemporary needs
On a societal level, the global large-scale replication of modernist buildings has led to a critical perception of this huge building stock. This lack of acceptance and appreciation complicates a sustainable reuse and retrofit into energy efficient and user-friendly buildings.
Through the specialised input by the project partners, RMB addresses all three levels in its educational pact.
RMB´s educational methodology
RMB is able to integrate different European approaches and knowledge on conversion and refurbishment of this specific post-war era to meet these professional challenges. The partners in RMB will contribute specific knowledge and input regarding spatial patterns, cultural heritage, climate and construction principles, social and technical evaluation and the monitoring of built spaces. Thus creating a well-balanced adequate curriculum for preparing graduates for this international job market and strengthen the European common ground in this specialized expertise.
RMB´s Innovative aspects and expected outcomes
RMB is innovative in the sense that it will contribute to the urgent speed up of the transformation of our building stock, create better job chances for students in the field, generate more jobs for the building industry as a whole and most of all wants to improve people’s lives and build greener and better societies. RMB follows very closely the definition of the EU Commission on innovation.
RMB makes knowledge and existing teaching formats accessible on a European level. Specific parts from the curricula of the partner institutions are inserted into a comprehensive well-balanced educational pack. The combination of these contributions forms a unique program pool.
The teaching formats contribute to the execution of the EU targets on Modernisation Agenda’s priority areas and the implementation of the 2013 Communication on opening up education. RMB will explore combinations of ´traditional´ e-learning formats, on-site events -such as conferences and workshops- as well as extended very innovative e-learning options in digital fabrication and building integrated management (BIM). It will improve the possibilities of a remote teaching in design education, which is not self-evident. The results are to be disseminated to a wider audience through open courses, open sources, and best practice syllabi.
In an up-to-date adaptation and optimisation of the environmental performance in the construction process, with respect to the modern legacy lies an important task for architects, stakeholders, and future users. The expected results will be valuable to extend the yet very limited database and knowledge on buildings user behaviour, which is currently a restraint to the potential improvement of energy policies and environmental sustainability strategies. Researchers who develop buildings’ performance simulation models, can use the conclusions regarding user behaviour.
State of things in the development of RMB
In the first year of RMB the main effort was to compile the curriculum and the accompanying description of content, goals and formats of the modules within the curriculum. Parallel, the role of the partners is further defined, a RMB course statement is produced, and a start is made in collecting case studies. Tests with workshops, projects, and courses started from spring 2016. The development and production of the course materials is the next step, the dissemination of project results and scientific output started in the first year but will become more important in the later phases of RMB.
The case study design projects forms the spine of the RMB master. Teachers with different professional backgrounds support these case study design projects. Each semester will set specific accents, students work on location for one semester and then move to the next
HS-OWL/Antwerp, Project on the axis Detmold-Antwerp + Document and analyse/Type and Function/History of Modernism
IST/Coimbra: Project in Portugal, + focus on Social aspects/ Assessment of buildings in use/ Environmental design
ITÜ + partner/ Free project location in the southeast of Europe + Building construction /Reporting and writing /preparation of thesis
Thesis at one of the partner schools.
Learning objectives and graduation skills:
RMB is open for students with a bachelor diploma from different backgrounds such as: architecture, heritage or urban planning. Students who already have a master but want to specialise in the field of reuse will also be recruited for RMB.
The students learn to deal with heritage- and reuse issues in a self-conscious, methodological clear and respectful way. They will approach the topic of conservation, transformation and reuse from a broad perspective, have a holistic multidisciplinary view and knowledge on reuse, but will be specialist as well because of the Master´s specific focus on the field of Modernist Architecture.
Output qualities and professional (job) perspectives
After graduating from RMB, Students will be able to further develop their gained knowledge and solve independently and in a responsible manner, complex assignments in the field of heritage and reuse, in design practise as in science and research.
Through the helicopter view on reuse on a European scale and the international collaborations with students and teachers during the master courses, they will be well prepared for the European job market. Through the application of distant learning and designing skills in the project-based learning during their RMB master, students are very well equipped for contemporary working practices of ´footloose´ offices with collaborators in different geographical locations. They combine a high sensitivity for local conditions with a broad experience and knowledge of international best practises, and cooperative, effective working skills.
RMB targets in Internationalisation in education, job prospects and general benefits
Due to discrepancies in the European job market and employment situations, graduates are well aware of the fact that they may have to leave their country to work in a different country or to be able to work in their countries but in international projects. In several international networks, Bachelor and Master Students already have the opportunity to get familiar with the challenges and requirements of the global job market in the building sector. This experience related to language training, intercultural and interdisciplinary competences is very much appreciated by the students as relevant for their professional future. RMB will add an extra level to this by not only offering a coherent international study program, combining the local and the international but also by inserting in this curriculum cooperation with industry and with other institutions to investigate and solve relevant practical, technical and societal questions. Students get acquainted with industry and with praxis via internships, graduation assignments, conferences, workshops and guest speakers. This connection between academic education and the practice is perceived as an asset for the future profession of the graduates.
The participating partners are convinced their cooperation will better prepare graduates to the requirements of a European and international job market. So first students will benefit from this, secondly the building industry, as well as authorities, will profit and of course, in the end, the urgent European topics on human habitat will find better solutions.
of the transformation of our building stock, by better job chances for students in the field, generate more jobs for the building industry as a whole and to improve people’s lives and build greener and better societies.
Thus following very close the definition of the EU Commission on innovation. RMB makes knowledge and existing teaching formats accessible on a European level. Specific parts from the curricula of the partner institutions are inserted in to a comprehensive well balanced educational pack. The combination of these contributions forms a unique program pool. The teaching formats contribute to the execution of the EU targets on Modernisation Agenda’s priority areas and the implementation of the 2013 Communication on opening up education.
RMB will explore combinations of traditional e-learning forms, on site events such as conferences and workshops as well as extended very innovative e-learning options in digital fabrication and building integrated management (BIM). It will improve the possibilities of a remote teaching in design education which is not self-evident up till now. The results will be disseminated to a wider audience through open courses, open sources and best practice syllabi.
ROLES AND RESPONSABILITIES