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Symposium "Duration and Transience. Reflections on the lifespan of buildings"

It is surprising that, especially in times when climate justice, CO₂ reduction and sustainability are highly relevant, the lifespan of buildings, as well as that of individual construction measures, tends to play a subordinate role in the current discourse. The Institute for Building Research and Conservation (IBB) wants to counteract this by focussing on this topic and making it the subject of a symposium.

In the midst of efforts to preserve existing buildings, and in some cases to adapt and retrofit them through remodelling, it is important to examine the underlying temporal concepts as a comparison between prognosis and reality. This is also linked to the examination of two traditional concepts of architecture, repairable and recyclable construction.

Construction has always required an interdisciplinary approach – especially with the increasing demands of sustainability, where the different perspectives of the parties involved often need to be familiarised with first. The symposium offers a platform for those working and researching in the fields of architecture, civil engineering, conservation and restauration as well as building conservation in general to promote inter- and transdisciplinary diversity and facilitate dialogue between the stakeholders.

The symposium will take place from the 3rd to the 5th of June 2024 ("Lunch-to-Lunch") at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam and is linked to a half-day excursion.

A Registration for the symposium is now possible. The programme is available for download.

You will also find detailed information on the individual days in the programme:

Target audience: Professional audience University members Public Prospective students

03/06/2024, 1.00 pm – 6.00 pm


Programme "Duration"

1.00 pm | Welcome & greetings

  • Welcome by Prof. Dr Eva Schmitt-Rodermund, President of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam
  • Greeting by Dipl.-Ing. Matthias Krebs, President of the Brandenburg Chamber of Engineers
  • Greeting by Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Heinz Nagler, Brandenburg Building Culture Association

1.20 pm | Prof. Dr Markus Tubbesing/IBB
Introduction – Categories, dimensions and challenges

1.50 – 2.50 pm | Panel Duration – Session 1 and Discussion: Design and Building 
Moderation: Prof. Dr. Markus Tubbesing

  • Prof. Dr. Karl R. Kegler: Humanity of Permanence. On language, permanence and legibility
  • Dr. Simon Banakar: Expressive and adaptable: Designing robust structures


3.30 – 5.30 pm | Panel Duration – Session 2 and Discussion: Building and Conservation
Moderated by Prof. Dr. Jan Raue

  • Dr. Wanja Wedekind: The secret of eternity – Why advanced civilisations survived in the desert, why Roman and Armenian buildings are still standing and what we can learn from them
  • Prof. Dr. Jörg Röder: Recurring maintenance requirements for the building envelope
  • Dr. Volker Thiele: Italy in Prussia. Why the Roman baths are not Potsdam baths
  • Dipl.-Ing. Peter Füssenich: Cologne Cathedral – Preserving the world cultural heritage and the work of the Cologne Cathedral Building Society


from 6.00 pm | Invitation to the celebratory event 20 years of the Master's degree course in Building Conservation and Restauration in Existing Contexts, followed by a finale on the campus 
with a celebratory lecture by Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Gerhard Eisele (see website for programme)

Registration for the symposium

04/06/2024, 9.00 am – 6.00 pm


Programme "Transience"

9.00 – 10.30 am | Panel Transience – Session 3 and discussion: Design and construction
Moderated by Prof. Dr.-Ing.

  • Prof. Nicola Lepp: Materials without plural: Cultural studies perspectives on remnants (working title)
  • Prof. Dr. Rainer Schützeichel: Built for transience: On the temporary, the less permanent and "disposable architecture" in the 20th century
  • Dr. Boris Reyher: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Solutions for durable and recyclable building with concrete


11.00 am – 1.00 pm | Panel Transience – Session 4 and Discussion: Building and Conservation
Moderated by Prof. Dr.-Ing.

  • Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Silke Straub-Beutin: DENK MAL Olympia swimming stadium – New construction as an option for preservation?
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Sylvia Keßler: Reinforced concrete structures: Time bombs or durable marvels?
  • Dr. Ute Joksch: "Since the plaster applied to the wooden cladding of the towers not yet two years ago has already completely fallen off again." Frederick William III on 21 June 1804: Problems and solutions for the sustainable restoration of surfaces on SPSG buildings
  • Prof. Dr. Günter Seidl: Extending the remaining useful life of a railway bridge

Lunch break

approx. 2.30 –6.00 pm | Specialist excursion, offered by the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg 
(up to 40 participants each, registration required)

  • Roman Baths (Dr. Volker Thiele; Dipl.-Ing. Heike Zeymer) or
  • Church of Peace with Campanile (Dipl.-Ing. Frank Karalus, Dr. Ute Joksch)
Registration for the symposium

05/06/2024, 9.00 am – 1.00 pm


Programme "Perspectives"

9.00 – 11.00 am | Panel perspectives and discussion
Moderated by Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Silke Straub-Beutin

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing Klaus Pistol: A comparison of the durability and transience of concrete and clay. An experiment on the connection between world view and building material technology
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Prytula: Neighbourhood Life Cycle Assessment (Q-LCA). Analysing the environmental impact of infrastructures and buildings of different settlement structures in their life cycle
  • Clara Jiva Schulte, M. Sc.: 100 years and then it's over?! A critical examination of the concept of technical service life in railway bridge construction
  • Prof. Dr. Jan Raue: Lifetime perspectives in conservation and restoration


11.30 am – 1.00 pm | Final discussion
Moderated by Prof. Dr. Julia Glesner

  • Dipl.-Ing. Ayhan Ayrilmaz (SPSG, Director of the Architecture Department and Vice President of the Berlin Chamber of Architects)
  • Dr. Ruth Klawun (Landesdenkmalamt Berlin, Head of the Department for the Preservation of Architectural and Artistic Monuments)
  • Dipl.-Ing. Matthias Krebs (President of the Brandenburg Chamber of Engineers)
  • Dr. Tino Mager (President of the German National Committee of ICOMOS e.V.)
  • Prof. Dipl.-Rest. Mechthild Noll-Minor (BLDAM, Head of the Building Research and Restoration Department)
  • Dr. Ralf Ruhnau (President of the Berlin Building Chamber)
Registration for the symposium

Contact us

IBB: Institute for Building Research and Conservation

Ulrike Weichelt
Coordinator Event Management and Deutschlandstipendium