In-Class Guest Lecture | De-Carbonization: Rammed Earth, Martin Haas and Thomas Auer

Monday, November 16, 2020, 2 - 3:30pm

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This lecture is hosted by Structures II with professors Thorsten Helbig and Florian Meier.

A transformation towards a carbon neutral building stock and climate change requires mitigation and adaptation strategies. At the same time it is essential that a transformation process leads to healthy, comfortable and inspirational environments - indoors as well as outdoors. Integrated design strategies and a performance driven design process is the basis to find answers on the question how the challenges of our time will transform and change our built environment - a transformation, which needs to be radical in order to achieve a full de-carbonization of our building stock and to provide a highly comfortable environment. Form and material choice is creating an essential foundation towards truly sustainable buildings. Natural materials such as wood and rammed earth are minimizing embodied energy, while contributing to an environmental quality in terms of aesthetics, haptic as well as thermal quality. However, to be convincing as a profession our work needs to be aspirational and inspirational. Academic and practice-based research must determine the level of aspiration - with exemplary lighthouse projects such as the Alnatura office world - which inspire the industry as well as the public.

Martin Haas is founding partner of the architectural studio haascookzemmrich STUDIO2050.  Martins main focus of work is the development of innovative and sustainable architecture. 
As a founding member,  Martin serves as member of the Executive Board and since 2013 as Vice-President of the DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council). 
Martin is a frequent lecturer at various universities such as University of Pennsylavania Philadelphia, University Sassari and Umea in Sweden.

Thomas Auer is partner and managing director of Transsolar, an engineering firm with offices in Stuttgart, Munich, Paris and New York. He is a specialist in energy efficiency, user comfort and sustainable urban design. Thomas taught at Yale University and was a visiting professor at the ESA in Paris, Ryerson in Toronto and other Universities. Since 2014 he is full Professor at the Technical University of Munich. 

This lecture and discussion is accessible to Cooper Union students, faculty, and staff. 

View the full Fall 2020 Lectures and Events List.


  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.