The House of Sustainability Tharandt

The House of Sustainability Tharandt Saxony Germany (2014)

The town of Tharandt has the oldest academy of forestry in Germany, founded as the Royal Saxon Academy of Forestry by Heinrich Cotta in 1811 together with its arboretum, the Forstbotanischer Garten Tharandt. Today the Academy educates students from all over the world in (tropical) forestry, resource management and sustainable land use.

The design for a „House of Sustainability„ is part of a larger architectural feasibility study we undertook for the forest town of Tharandt.
Our work included conceiving and organizing a series of citizen participation meetings and surveys as to how the town could develop its potential as an important international tourist attraction and simultaneously increase the attractiveness for the locals.

One of the main focuses of our work was to suggest an appropriate use for the prominent site of the destroyed „German House„ (the towns former cultural hall and cinema).
This site is situated on the main approach road from Dresden and can be seen as being an important „Welcome Sign“ and expression of the „Spirit and Identity“ of the famous „Forest Town“ for visitors and citizens.

The „House of Sustainability“ concept was to provide a forum space and „Info Center“ for local participation in climate change topics and an exhibition about „sustainability and holistic thinking“. The construction was in timber and could be used as a winter garden by citizens on a daily basis.

After my recent participation in the COP28 in Dubai I think that we need to establish a series of „Sustainability Info Centers“ in all cities and towns to communicate the importance of people participation in climate change issues and to educate / inform in a dialog school kids and youth.