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Reconnecting with nature
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NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS AWARDS: existing completed examples
Project title
Full project title
Climate-Culture-Pavilion, Graz

More and more often, rising average temperatures are leading to urban overheating during the summer. For the future of cities like Graz, measures designed to adapt to climate change play a crucial role. The Climate Culture Pavilion Graz 2020 is an installation in public space that showcases future models of urban cooling in hot summers.
Over the space of six months, the pavilion allows visitors to experience ideas and visions for cooling architectures and climate-resilient outdoor spaces.

What was the geographical scope of your project?
Does your project address mainly urban or rural issues?
Mainly urban
Does your project refer to a physical transformation of the built environment or other types of transformations?
It refers to other types of transformations ('soft investment')
Has your project benefited from EU programmes or funds?
Has your project won an EU prize?
Your project is fully completed?
When was your project implemented?
How did you hear about the New European Bauhaus Prizes ?
On whose behalf are you submitting the application?
As a representative of an organisation
Please provide a summary of your project

As the climate crisis progresses, there is a growing need to find new strategies to tackle humanity's greatest challenge to date. However, this complex task can only be solved if we all break new ground quickly and effectively and unite our efforts. The Breathe Earth Collective presents its vision of a cultural change that understands the crisis as a design task for society as a whole and counters it courageously and creatively with a new "climate culture" that goes beyond design and architecture tasks.

As part of the climate culture pavilion, the principles of climate culture will be presented and climate-positive living will be made visible through various formats and events. The pavilion focuses on essential solutions of our time on the subject of air pollution and overheating, sealing and flooding as well as cohesion and education of the population.

The Climate-Culture-Pavilion is an installation by the Breathe Earth Collective as part of the Graz Culture Year 2020. In the middle of the city center, the forest pavilion creates a multi-sensory experience space and cools you down on hot summer days and helps improve air quality. The prototype is a further development of the Austrian Expo Pavilion breathe.Austria in Milan 2015 and invites visitors to linger and cool off daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. In addition, the pavilion acts as an agora and serves for exchange and diverse climate discourse for the common creation of a climate culture!

Please indicate the main themes of your project with 5 key words
Bringing nature back into cities
Creating an agora for change in public space
Project as open-process for a changing society
The pavilion as a lightpole project
Using circular materials only
Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of sustainability (including circularity) and how these have been met.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context

- All building materials, like soils, substrats, drainage layers, as well as technical tools, like irrigation, mist technology, light etc. have been directly reused in other projects. All plants have been replanted in diverse areas in the city of Graz, as well as been distributed during the final crowd foresting event in Graz to private gardens and balconys.  

-No prints for events, all events have been streamed live. The complete server infrastructure was located in Graz.

- Most transports have been arranged with cargo bikes.

Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these have been met.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context

At the heart of the Climate Culture Pavilion is an intense sensory forest experience. Visitors see lush vegetation, smell the damp forest floor and feel the coolness on their faces.

Today's society spends more than 90 percent of its time indoors with artificial climate, artificial light and fully controlled. Natural environments, however, provide a much more efficiently conditioned living environment for us humans. The forest experience in the Climate-Culture Pavilion reduces personal stress levels and, in combination with the natural, robust and soft materials and surfaces, contributes to a relaxed atmosphere and familiar feel.

Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of inclusion (equal opportunities, public participation, citizen engagement, co-design, universal design, accessibility, affordability, etc.) and how these have been met.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context

The Climate Culture Pavilion is freely accessible at all times. There are no closed events. Furthermore, access is barrier-free and communication is primarily through the sensory experience of the forest experience on site. The emotional communication about the tangible experience of nature appeals to all people.

Financially, the project is based on solidarity: Large and financially strong partners pay contributions for the pavilion. Small and young initiatives pay nothing or are supported by us in financing their own costs.

Diverse formats for co-creation, workshops and education through participation have been part of the program.

Please explain how these three dimensions have been combined in your project.
Please highlight how this approach can be exemplary

All three dimensions are combining the foundation of the project. We strongly believe that only the combination of design and aethetics like timber forest in the public space, as well as new forms of inclusion and interaction with citizens and experts as well as intense experiences and positive atmospheres, like the experience in the forest can help to guide the huge transformation of our society towards a climate positive future, as well as climate culture. 



Please give information on the results/impacts achieved by your project in relation to the category you apply for

The Climate-Culture Pavilion cooperates with about 30 institutions from culture, science and business. Among others, the Schauspielhaus and the Graz Opera are involved, as well as the Austrian Federal Forest Research Centre or the Wegener Center for Global Change and Networks of Sustainable Enterprises.

In addition to these institutional partners, more than 40 initiatives have registered via an open call to contribute to the climate discourse with events. These include political debates by the Students for Future as well as readings or a poetry slam to street theatre, sports and dance events.

The programme is based on a broad network and offers a non-partisan discourse in the forest. The forest itself has long since become the backdrop, the media background, of the sustainability discourse. It is omnipresent in press images and films. The press reports from the pavilion several times a week. There are several online channels with discussions on climate culture from the Climate Culture Forest.

After the dismantling of the pavilion in the autumn 2021, so many neighbours, and visitors have confirmed their interest to extend the project and restart it the following year.
Currently we are preparing the finances to build up the pavilion again this year but for a more permanent period from 2022-2025.


Please explain how citizens and civil society were involved in the in the design and/or implementation of the project.
Please also explain the benefits that derived from their involvement.

The pavilion combines a dense outdoor cultural programme - which has contributed significantly to its attractiveness, especially since the COVID19 pandemic - with the possibility of an open stage for social and political discourse. It is meant to be an attractive, socially low-threshold and neutral place to give space to discussions and speculations for a future society.

Climate change and cultural change are given the stage here, regardless of the social ideals and economic expectations of the participants. Much more than expected, the pavilion is a projection surface for the individual wishes and ideas of visitors and actors. The pavilion with the forest in the middle of the city shows simple and efficient possibilities for a new living environment. Discussions in this context, in the forest clearing under trees in the middle of the city, are surprisingly consensual and solution-oriented.

The media attention of the pavilion has initiated a variety of discourses and redesign processes in the city of Graz. The newly founded Climate Advisory Board of the City of Graz, which is to orient all projects of the city towards ecological sustainability from project idea to implementation, presents projects in the Climate-Culture Pavilion on a weekly basis and discusses them publicly. The public discussion has found an easily accessible and open place.

Many users spend their lunch break or evening stroll in the Climate-Culture Pavilion and in this way enter into the substantive discussion of climate-culture change quite incidentally. In this way, many people can be reached and addressed. The Climate-Culture Pavilion and the associated forest backdrop have become a common identifying feature of the discourse.

Please explain what kind of global challenges the project addressed by providing local solutions
  • Combating urban heat island effect
  • Combating urban flooding through water storage in high performance substrates by activating a local water circle
  • Reconnecting with nature for urban citizens as well as for micro-restoration during our daily lifes when there is no time to go into the “real forest” outside the cities.
  • Building audience and creating awareness towards climate change with the open stage of the climate agora.
Please highlight the innovative character of the project as compared to mainstream practices in the field of the project.

The Climate-Culture Pavilion uses strong sensory experiences and images to address climate change and cultural change. It communicates through physical experiences that can also be perceived incidentally in everyday urban space.

The pavilion comprehensively involves the local population with open calls and the search for sponsorships. It shows how (seemingly effortlessly and silently) a sustainable building and a naturally fresh forest environment can be built. Change is possible.

The pavilion's climate performance works exclusively through shading, targeted ventilation and the evapotranspiration effect of the vegetation in combination with spray mist. This alone can reduce the temperature by up to 6°C.


Please explain to the potential of transferring the projects’ results or learnings to other interested parties and contexts.
Please provide clear documentation, communication of methodology and principles in this context.

Climate culture concerns a holistic cultural change towards a climate-positive way of living and doing business. Every area of our daily lives, every activity, every process and every object is affected.

Such an engagement needs new, positively occupied places, needs hands-on examples and the possibility of active participation and involvement. The future begins with each of us ourselves.

The pavilion offers a sensory forest experience that touches and appeals to most people as a positive experience. Visitors and participants meet on the basis of a shared experience - across all political and content boundaries.

Is an evaluation report or any relevant documentation available?
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