“The value of architectural heritage is not only in its appearance, but also in the integrity of all its components as a unique product of the specific building technology of its time.”

ICOMOS CHARTER from General Assembly in Victoria Falls, 2003

At the end of March 2019, the Senate of the German Research Foundation (DFG) decided to establish the Priority Program “Cultural Heritage Construction – Foundations of an Engineering-based and Networked Preservation of Monuments for the Structural Heritage of the High Modern Age”. DFG Priority Programs (SPP) open up the possibility of funding a nationwide research network on an important and current topic over a period of six years.

The SPP “Cultural Heritage Construction” focuses on buildings of the high modern era (around 1880 to 1970). Their value as monuments is often determined by structural characteristics – the construction thus becomes the actual cultural heritage. However, there is still a lack of decisive foundations in the history of building technology, monument theory and engineering science for its evaluation and preservation. The desires are obvious.

The SPP responds to this with the establishment of an interdisciplinary research network on three subject areas:


The focus of topic area 1 is on cross-sectional studies on the development of characteristic building methods and construction types of high modernism and all related questions. The projects are characterized less by individual studies and more by diachronic work on main lines and innovation steps, primarily related to the German-speaking cultural area. The aim is to specify the system of coordinates in the history of building technology of that epoch as an indispensable basis for a reliable localization and evaluation of the cultural heritage of construction and its monuments.


Thematic area 2 focuses on the development and communication of efficient approaches, quality criteria and methods for the monumental evaluation of high modern buildings and their complex structures, which include the constructional dimensions in all their diversity. Criteria relating to the theory of monuments and the history of building technology must be taken into account, as well as the social and technical value-creation processes that precede the valuation of monuments from the period from about 1880 to 1970.


Based on a technically reflected concept of monuments, subject area 3 combines methods from the fields of monuments and engineering. The overarching goal here is the development and exemplary verification of networked action strategies for the preservation and further development of the highly modern cultural heritage.

The DFG Priority Program 2255 “Cultural Heritage Construction” will extend over two funding periods of three years each. In addition to a coordination project, the first funding period (2021 – 2023) will include eleven subprojects whose interdisciplinary teams will carry out a total of 26 research projects, some of which will be closely interlinked.


  • 12.11.2021: Staff workshop “Common Ground”, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg
  • 11.11.2021: Thinking Workshop “Building at the Limit”, Brandenburg State Museum of Modern Art | Dieselkraftwerk Cottbus and Online
  • 22./23.09.2021: SuMupLAB in the former broadcasting hall Europe 1, Überherrn-Berus
  • 23./24.04.2021: Online impulse meeting of all contributors
  • 01.01.2021: Start of the priority program
  • 27./28.04.2020: Selection of the funded projects by the DFG
  • 23.10.2019: Submission of applications
  • 09.09.2019: Preparatory colloquium of all interested parties in Cottbus
  • 02.07.2019: Announcement of the priority program

Further information on the basic objectives and contents of SPP 2255 can be found in an abbreviated version of the initiative proposal, which can be downloaded here.

Examples of buildings from high modernism