NEB ambition

The ultimate ambition of the New European Bauhaus is to achieve transformation. To do this, the NEB Compass has identified specific levels of ambition that outline the desired outcomes for each of the NEB values.

Action areas

These areas refer to the five key domains of intervention that CrAFt's New European Bauhaus Impact Model considers essential for guiding and evaluating complex urban initiatives.

Participation level

The participation level refers to the degree or extent to which individuals or groups are actively involved or engaged in a particular activity, project, or process. It assesses the depth of their involvement, contributions, and commitment, ranging from minimal or passive participation to active and dedicated participation.

NEB values

The New European Bauhaus (NEB) aims to promote the values of sustainability, aesthetics, and inclusion in the design and transformation of urban spaces. It emphasises the integration of environmental, social, and economic considerations to create harmonious and innovative living environments.

Implementation Stage

According to the Smart City Guidance Package, there are seven stages to plan and implement smart city projects. These stages propose a logical and coherent roadmap for city initiatives involving many stakeholders.

A Rietveld graduation artwork as example of the New European Bauhaus transition

An interview with Orlaith Mayet, an art student who addressed her housing situation in an unconventional and sustainable way.

What is this art project all about?

Orlaith Mayet’s graduation work “No Matter” responds to many circumstances she had to deal with as an art student at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. It all started in August 2021. Her housing situation by then was unstable, mainly squatting and changing place every 3-6 months, without a long-term perspective. She decided to live in a caravan, but soon she realised that she did not only want to adapt to the circumstances but to get control of her situation by creating her own living space fitting to her ideals of a sustainable way of living with as little of an environmental impact as possible. This decision also impacted her artistic career- she made her living a centrepiece of her artistic research. 

That is how the journey of the “No Matters” project started – the idea to construct a 50 square meters off-grid house of 100% recycled material. Today, 200 wheels form the house’s foundation, and hundreds of wooden pallets were used for the construction. While collecting the construction material, Orlaith was confronted with many prejudices about women being unable to build a house independently – assumptions that motivated her, even more, to continue her project alone. 

She discovered how important it is to find a new common language to articulate the value of materials. Initially, the company providing the waste or materials for her project mainly saw the economic profit of the wooden pallets. The pallets made of qualitative wood are used for one-way transportation of goods and are normally sold as firewood. But Orlaith managed to change the perspective of the value of the pallets – she convinced the company that the value of the ‘waste’ material had a short-term economic value but that the material had a much more significant impact and long-term benefit by reusing it for the housing project: after realisation, it offers a beautiful, affordable, and sustainable living space – a privilege for many citizens/students in the city of Amsterdam.

What is the connection with the New European Bauhaus?

The New European Bauhaus reflects the ambition to make the sustainable transition beautiful and inclusive. How can we bring the green transition into the daily lives of Europeans? 

Orlaith’s project is an excellent example of showing the current system’s complexity and how things could be done in another way. The artist challenges us to think about the affordability of housing and space in European cities, about the way we facilitate and enable a sustainable way of living for our urban community, and about the enormous economic system behind waste and recycling of materials. She triggers us to think about artists and creatives providing new value creation beyond economic profit. 

The connection to the New European Bauhaus lies also in the person of Orlaith herself. As a student of the Rietveld Academie, she joined the first CrAFt Student Core group in December 2022. Together with seven other European students, she formed the core of a student-led Think/Do Tank for the European network of universities, cultural organisations, the European property owners union, cities and policymakers in Europe. The students developed perspectives and projects based on New European Bauhaus values. The connection to the CrAFt project and the European community allowed her to network and tell her story on a bigger scale. 

What’s next for Orlaith?

After her graduation, Orlaith was invited to participate in the Jan Van Eyck Academie residency in Maastricht to follow up her artistic research journey. But she also has plenty of ideas to continue her engagement with the CrAFt partners in Amsterdam. So, more exciting projects and engagements are to be expected soon 😉

More information

Written by Mareile Zuber, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

Photography by Orlaith Mayet (2, 3) and Mareile Zuber (1).

A story about…



NEB Values

Participation level

Implementation stage

Story format