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InnoRenew CoE at the Festival of the New European Bauhaus (NEB)

Last week, during 9-13 April 2024, the European Commission in cooperation with the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, organized the second New European Bauhaus Festival (NEB Festival) in Brussels.

Image: NEB

The NEB Festival offered a varied and rich programme, including discussions, exhibitions, workshops and artistic performances. It aimed to bring together a wide range of stakeholders – industry representatives, opinion leaders, innovation experts, scientists and artists – to discuss the key issues enabling a sustainable transformation of our society. The InnoRenew CoE was also among the stakeholders who actively joined many of the festival’s activities.

Dr. Andreja Kutnar, InnoRenew CoE director and the NEB Academy coordinator presented at the forum and panel discussion about transforming the built environment, its challenges and opportunities, the story and the process of creating the InnoRenew CoE and the NEB Academy at the University of Primorska. She highlighted the planned activities of the NEBA Alliance which is composed of 14 partners from Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Image: Innovawood

The NEBA Alliance partners have also already gathered for their first meeting at the InnoRenew CoE to discuss in particular the development of a tailored and high-quality service offering and training programmes in the field of sustainable construction solutions.

Image: InnoRenew CoE

Iliana Ivanova, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, officially launched the New European Bauhaus Academy at the festival, whose key objective is to develop an international alliance of education and training providers across Europe. The European Commission is convinced that the NEBA Academy is a strong support for the European construction industry, as it also addresses the important issue of labour shortages and promotes the exchange of knowledge on sustainable solutions, such as the circular use of wood and other innovative materials.

Image: Innovawood

Image: CBE JU

In addition, the New European Bauhaus Prizes 2024 were presented at the festival.

Image: NEB

The InnoRenew CoE was also among the finalists for the award, further demonstrating its excellence and commitment to creating a sustainable future for all. The institute’s application stood out among more than 530 entries for its quality, alignment with the NEB’s values and principles, and potential to promote beauty, sustainability and inclusion.

The research institute InnoRenew CoE not only designed and constructed the largest wooden building in Slovenia following restorative environmental and ergonomic design (REED) principles, but at the same time created the building to serve as a research object itself. The institute’s researchers can therefore test and demonstrate new solutions, technologies, and systems to assess building materials. At the same time, they are dedicated to sharing their knowledge and innovative approaches with the wider community. Since the official opening of the building in 2022, it has hosted by over 30.000 people. Thus, they are inspiring people to use wood for buildings, furniture, and other objects of daily use.

Image: InnoRenew CoE

Eva Prelovšek Niemelä, InnoRenew CoE architect and Head of Creativity & Society research department, attended the festival and the award ceremony. She highlighted that InnoRenew CoE became a hub for a sustainable scientific and industrial community, fostering cooperation between different local, national and international organisations.


At the NEB Festival, Dr. Kutnar and Eva Prelovšek Niemelä also met with Shigeru Ban, the Japanese architect who won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2014, and visited representatives of the Center Rog from Ljubljana, who were presenting at the exhibition space.

The NEB Festival gave participants a five-day experience of creativity and collaboration, and an opportunity to network and exchange ideas, visions and ambitions with people from Europe and beyond.