New year — new team: Since the turn of the year, Kira Sophie Kawohl and Stephan Faulhaber have complemented the proven team of XIA by AIT. And with new energy, we have dedicated ourselves to the topic of Earth for this issue. We thus start our annual canon of themes based on the four basic elements of earth, water, air and fire — according to the ancient Greeks, the building blocks of our world and the origin of all being. Earth stands for stability, reliability and determination — qualities that can certainly be attributed to the selected international architectural projects (from p. 26) made of clay, stone, concrete and wood. After all, what else do a golf clubhouse in Aqaba, a design office in Slovenia, a service building in the Dolomites or a modular building in Porto have in common with an underground animal crematorium, underground stations, buried residential or holiday homes or a meditation room next to a volcano? All these architectural trouvailles are on top, under or made of earth — in the broadest sense! New product developments in the corresponding material groups and technical applications in practice can be found in our report section (from p. 60). Two female representatives of our profession are featured in the series section (from p. 18). Natascha Bastos de Almeida presents her Master’s thesis at TU Darmstadt, and architect Kristin Reuther-Mercurio from Cologne provides insights into the conversion of a neo-Gothic townhouse into a guesthouse and hotel. As you turn the pages, be sure to take a look at the great photos of the Grandes Ensembles in Paris by Laurent Kronental — it’s worth it too!
Petra Stephan, Dipl.-Ing.