Wood instead of steel and concrete: Schellnhuber calls for a green Bauhaus movement

04/21/2021- Reconstructing our climate: On the occasion of the upcoming "Earth Day", Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director Emeritus of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, called for a green Bauhaus movement for the 21st century. He presented the "Building House of the Earth" initiative, which he co-founded, together with the architect Annette Hillebrandt and the President of the German Federal Environment Agency Dirk Messner at Berlin's Federal Press Conference today. Schellnhuber argues for the substitution of reinforced concrete with organic building materials and presented strategies for sustainable housing.
Wood instead of steel and concrete: Schellnhuber calls for a green Bauhaus movement
Modern wood building. Photo: Evan Chen/Unsplash

"Without a radical shift in building, the Paris climate agreement will fail," Schellnhuber said. "However, if we replace steel and concrete with organic materials such as wood or bamboo, we can avoid significant amounts of climate-damaging emissions. [...] With regenerative architecture, we could virtually build our way out of the climate crisis." According to his calculations, a single-family house made of solid wood alone offsets the CO2 emissions of 100 round-trip flights between Berlin and New York. This would transform building from a source of CO2 to a powerful sink.

Like the Bauhaus movement of the early 20th century, the “Bauhaus der Erde” aspires to create a holistic approach to the built environment. It will initiate a broad social discourse to shape a new vision of the built environment: a vision, based on the principles of sustainability, participation and aesthetics, that must be implemented in the coming decade. The “Bauhaus der Erde” has received start-up funding of 2.5 million euro from Laudes Foundation for the corresponding activities.

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