14/03 – 23/03/2024

Grey energy matter

Grey energy matter

In the context of buildings, grey energy refers to the total amount of energy expended throughout the entire lifecycle of a building including the energy required for the extraction and processing of building materials, the construction, maintenance and renovation, demolition and disposal or recycling of a building. 

Grey energy has in past years often been overlooked, as it is not directly incurred during a building's period of use, but is embedded in the entire process of production and disposal. Yet grey energy is particularly important to consider when determining the total ecological footprint of a building. 

We are seeking abandoned objects in a rural context that are suitable as case study or “living lab” for dealing with the resource of grey energy. We will focus on dealing with vacant,  unoccupied structures without utilisation but potential for various use cases in the future. 

One particular object will be subject to a thorough analysis and for hands-on buildings practices. 

We begin by measuring and quantifying the object, analysing the socio-economic, historical, and spatial context. We will record the building substance and evaluate the condition of the building, individual parts or even single building materials. Accompanied by questions such as: How much embodied energy is actually bound in the object? Are there potentials for reactivation? What could structural transformation look like? We will form a collective knowledge base, which will serve as the foundation for concepts, design ideas, broad strategies and research ideas of all participants. 

In the first part, participants will be trained in lectures on various aspects and discourses on the topic of grey energy, conversion of abandoned structures in rural areas and
strategies for reactivation. The lectures serve as a basis for the second part on site. In the following five days (partly on site, partly in the course room) various approaches from
different disciplines will be applied, namely concerning constructive and material aspects as well as the spatial context of the industrial landscape and socio-political implications.

This course includes an attendance phase in Weimar from March 14 to March 23, 2024.

The participants will gain deeper knowledge about aspects of grey energy and its relevance to ecologies of the built environment. From the interdisciplinary perspective between historical and social knowledge production and architectural and technical aspects of reusing buildings, students will develop skills with the orientation towards comprehensive architectural reproduction. Furthermore students will be encouraged to contribute and enlarge their own set of skills and apply them “hands on” the study

Study Subject: Architecture, Urbanism/Urban planning, Landscape Architecture, Civil- & environmental Engineering, (Applied) Arts, Humanities 

Study Grade: Bachelor/ Master

Fridtjof Florian Dossin is an urbanist and expert on heritage conservation, currently art of graduate college “Identity and Heritage”, where he researches on the connection of Identity, labor and the built environment in Eastern Germany.

Jannik Noeske, research assistant at Chair for Spatial Research and Planning, researches on the urbanism history in the 20th century as well as the implications of “dissonant heritage” in urban and rural spaces.

Leon Robin Dirksen, architect, trained in Weimar and Mendrisio (Switzerland), currently head of project development at Boltshauser Architekten (Zurich, Switzerland)

The course fee is 300 EURO and includes:

  • Orientation & Support
  • Programme according to description
  • Teaching materials
  • Bauhaus Summer School ID card
  • Certificate
  • Free use of library


The course fee does not include:

  • Travel costs
  • Accommodation
  • Insurance

Participants, coming from the partner universites in the framework of Erasmus BIP scholarship and BUW students don't pay the course fee.

In addition to the Spring School courses, we offer a comprehensive "Service Package", which includes participation in the excursions and social programme, free entrance to the museums, dinner at the opening ceremony, travel by public transport and lunch in the student cafeteria. The booking of the Service Package for €70 is optional.
Students who do not take up the Service Package are automatically required to pay a course deposit of €100. This is to protect us against costs incurred by non-participation. Since in this case, the universities will not receive any funding from the European Commission. The deposit will be refunded as soon as the participants start the course in Weimar.


Please note our terms and conditions (admission conditions, cancellation conditions etc.)

BIP ID/Component Code: 2022-1-DE01-KA131-HED-000052999-9

This course addresses abandoned buildings and their embodied energy. How can we develop strategies to appropriate this valuable resource? Grey energy, the total energy used in a building’s lifecycle, is crucial in determining a buildings ecological footprint. Often overlooked, it plays a role from extraction of materials to construction, maintenance and demolition. We are seeking vacant rural structures with potential for use as living-labs to study the impact of grey energy.


Part I: Online Phase

27/2/24, 5:30 - 7:00 pm
29/2/24, 5:30 - 7:00 pm
5/3/24, 5:30 - 7:00 pm
6/3/24, 5:30 - 7:00 pm
7/3/24, 5:30 - 7:00 pm

Part II: on site in Weimar
March 14 to March 23, 2024



The course language is English.