"Repairing is not worth it": The throwaway society has outlived itself in the face of rapidly advancing climate change. “It has to pay off”: The dominant real estate economic point of view all too often questions the value of building fabric in view of short-term profitability and technical pressure to change. Rethinking is necessary, on the small scale of the usual private consumption as well as on the large scale of the immensely resource-intensive construction.

"Preserving and expanding what already exists, further thinking about the cultural and ecological value of the building stock, is a great future option to bring the connections between building and city, between individual and social needs into an ecological balance," writes Susanne Wartzeck, President of the Federation German architects BDA, in the introduction. The publication is a plea for the responsible maintenance of existing substance beyond the previously economically justified lifespan of thirty years for buildings as well as for a new, affordable culture of conversion in addition to the urgently needed new building in all price segments.

Preservation of the environment and social structures

In ten strategies, architects and urbanists present their concern for the building stock, which includes concern for established social structures and for the preservation of the environment. You advocate thinking ahead and carefully repairing living spaces and living cultures. They show how new perspectives arise in the urban and regional context through networked approaches, through cooperation oriented towards the common good and through participation concepts. For the future, i.e. the buildings erected today, strategies for the circular use of materials and an openness to future requirements are developed. What the concepts have in common is that they can be implemented step-by-step and are characterized by the smallest possible interventions and low use of resources, instead of relying on cost-intensive and material-intensive total conversions.

Rediscover inventory

Strategy number one, the "departure into the existing", is the call for a reductive approach that creates social spaces for the future through creative interaction and continued use. The authors and architects Katja Fischer and Jan Kampshoff describe the role of alliances and participation processes that lead to a changed view of what is available. The exemplary illustration is the revival of the Eiermann building in Apolda , which has been vacant for a long time and which is being developed into a versatile creative and production site.

Donuts instead of donuts

“Donuts have to be made into donuts” is the title of a strategy to activate vacancy in city and village centers, which recognizes that what is lost cannot be revived, but can be reinterpreted. This works best, according to the authors and architects Roland Gruber, Maria Isabettini and Peter Nageler, when the local people help develop the future images for their everyday reality. The revitalization of the city center of Trofaiach, a small town in Styria, is presented as a best practice example.

Using the example of a terrace house in Frankfurt am Main, the contribution "Growing Existing" by architects Aysin ─░pekci and Kamiel Klaasse calls attention to the fact that the buildings erected today are the stock of tomorrow. The new building is being developed sustainably, has differently sized apartment floor plans and common rooms and, with the low-barrier design, ensures cross-generational living options.

Exhibition and podcast

The publication of the BDA is accompanied by an exhibition in the Berlin DAZ, which will be open to the public as soon as current developments allow it again. Those interested can get an idea of ​​the exhibition concept in advance as part of a film tour .

In addition, a podcast on the subject of the book and exhibition has been published in the series of the BDA think tank "Don't Waste the Crisis": BDA President Susanne Wartzeck speaks with State Secretary Anne Katrin Bohle from the Federal Ministry of Construction about the political framework conditions that are necessary to be able to effectively take care of the stock.