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Hamburg-based architectural practice welcomes the initiative of the German Environmental Aid and hopes for a rethinking by building owners.

The recent permit requirement for climate-damaging building demolitions is seen as a first step against demolition mania in Germany.

In a recent development, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) commissioned a legal opinion to address the climate gap in building law, with the aim of making it mandatory to obtain permits for the demolition of buildings that harm the climate. Justus Asselmeyer, an architect based in Hamburg, is one of the first professionals to react positively to this initiative. He sees it as an opportunity to foster more creativity in planning and to promote a more moderate use of resources. Asselmeyer notes that the current legal situation favors the energy-intensive and climate-damaging demolition of buildings instead of a resource-saving reorganization. As an architect, he welcomes the DUH’s initiative as a step towards sensible and sustainable architecture, which his office already strives to implement, especially in commercial buildings. With well-thought-out concepts, building owners and clients can often be persuaded to consider renovation instead of demolition.

Any demolition is always enormous waste of resources and energy

In recent years, the number of house demolitions in Germany has risen sharply. Experts believe that this is mainly due to the many regulations and directives governing the renovation or refurbishment of buildings. “I see this as a huge waste of resources and clear evidence of our society’s throwaway culture. Instead of preserving what exists and is still functional, old structures are ruthlessly disposed of. This is irresponsible and harms our environment; rethinking is required, also in architecture,” says Justus Asselmeyer, who designs, plans, and implements sustainable architecture for brands and companies with his office.

Weighing up the sense and nonsense of a new building

The architectural office ASSELMEYER ARCHITEKT is of the opinion that there should definitely be an ecological comparison between new construction and refurbishment, as proposed by DUH. Asselmeyer says, “Although, of course, there must be no renovation dictatorship in which any new architecture would be demonized. In principle, enormous and immediate climate and resource protection could be achieved. However, it remains to be seen whether the state ministries responsible for the construction industry will implement these recommendations.”

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