Seven Key topics

Industrial heritage

On the principle that »there can be no future without a heritage,« particularly impressive examples of the region’s industrial history were preserved and reused. The industrial past can be brought forward into the future so that it can assist the region’s development, giving it an identity and a distinctive »travel destination« image. Examples include the F60 Visitors’ Mine, the Event Power Plant Plessa and the ENERGIE Heritage Route of Lusatian Industrial Culture.


The end of open-cast mining has created a new landscape of lakes, fundamentally changing the face of the region and creating new opportunities. The IBA has come up with concepts for using the Lusatia lake area for tourism and economic development. Ideas included creating channels for shipping and creating floating architecture as a unique feature. Structures like the IBA Terraces and the Lusatian Lake Land landmark set the bar for new architecture in the new lake landscape.

Energy landscapes

Renewable energy is now playing a larger role in the energy source mix. As a sparsely populated region, Lusatia has space for renewable energy sources – wind, sun and renewable materials. The IBA has developed model concepts for combining different energy sources and identified suitable spaces in Lusatia. A pilot project with the Vattenfall mining company and the BTU Cottbus involves cultivating fast-growing »energy plants« in the Welzow Energy Landscape to produce biomass.

New territory

Open-cast mining creates an opportunity to fundamentally redesign landscapes – their soil composition, relief, vegetation, paths, and landmarks. The IBA used the Welzow-Süd open-cast mine to investigate the potential of this »new land« and to test out various concepts. A »heap« landscape art object was developed for the bank of the Lake Altdöbern; this project was all about bringing together technological possibilities, economic necessities, and artistic ambitions.

Border landscapes

Quite apart from mining, Lusatia’s border with Poland poses a particular regional development challenge – for more reasons than one. Since the Second World War, this border has cut what was once a unified cultural region in two. Poland’s entry into the EU in 2004 and the opening up of borders in 2007 improved prospects for shared projects, allowing concepts for cross-border German-Polish projects – cross-border tourist initiatives for the Muskau Coal Crescent, for instance.

Urban landscapes

Lusatia’s industrial development was coupled with the construction of housing for workers – which explains the appearance of many of Lusatia’s cities and smaller towns. Industrial decline and loss of jobs caused the region’s towns to shrink; as people left the region, homes became surplus to requirements and were dismantled. In Lusatia, this process comes under the aegis of the »Stadtumbau Ost« support program. The IBA City Path highlights disassembly and conversion processes in the large-scale Sachsendorf-Madlow development and other projects.

Transitional landscapes

Changes begin in people’s minds. People’s perceptions – their way of seeing Lusatia – must be changed so that they can see new possibilities and opportunities. The transformation of the Lusatian landscape will take decades – but the IBA’s philosophy is to create the future rather than simply waiting for it. Interim uses are an important factor in regional development. The »wild« landscapes we see after open-cast mining and subsequent recultivation are generally closed to the public and in constant flux – changed by wind, water, and human hand. The IBA’s tours and events allow people to see and experience these »forbidden zones,« and the IBA has also created interim uses for the open-cast lakes in the process of being flooded. The IBA’s »intermediary landscapes« work has mainly consisted of outreach to the public – organising tours and presentations.

last update: 1/26/2017 13:13