Buckminster Fuller’s Dome Over Manhattan Island

Bernd Upmeyer spoke with Gerd Hauser, who is the head of the Institute of Building Physics at the Technical University of Munch in Germany that acts as a research institute for national and international standardization committees and advises Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transportation, Building, and Urban Development. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerd Hauser is one of the leading researchers for the implementation of the EU Directive on “Energy Performance of Buildings”. This interview deals in general with the question of how a Clean Urbanism – i.e. an urbanism that is dedicated to minimizing city-wide both the required inputs of energy, water, and food as well as its waste output of heat, air pollution as CO2, methane, and water pollution – could be achieved and defined.

Bernd Upmeyer: How might the know-how on sustainability, which has been successfully acquired at the architectural level over the last decades, be transferred and applied to the urban level to produce a clean urbanism?
Gerd Hauser: On the urban level, we have to understand that it does not make any sense to optimize the building as a single object. Although it might make sense to a certain extent, we also have to take the necessary next step and evaluate how important it might be to create urban structures that spend less energy, for example on traffic. To me, traffic is the crucial factor when it comes to a clean urbanism. We have to achieve cities with shorter commuting distances. But in general, I assume that not before long we will manage to create urban areas self-sufficient in their energy needs.

Bernd Upmeyer: What will such energy self-sufficient urban areas look like?
Gerd Hauser: We will exploit to the full all the known and tried and tested methods for energy efficiency. And after we have reduced all energy requirements to the furthest extent possible technically, we will service the remaining energy needs with renewable energies. Today, we are already able to achieve that on the building level. Projects exist that produce more energy annually than is consumed. With the help of such technologies we are able to provide not only the necessary electricity for the buildings themselves, but also – to a degree – the energy necessary for individual transportation in the form of electrical vehicles…

…the complete interview was published in MONU #11 on the topic of Clean Urbanism on August 25, 2009.

Title: Domes over Manhattan
Project: Interview with Gerd Hauser
Date: May 2009
Type: Commissioned interview
Topic: Clean Urbanism
Organizer: MONU
Status: Published
Publications: MONU #11, P.24-29
Interviewer: Bernd Upmeyer