Gail Taylor finds out why architects should make sure BAU 2015 is in their diary
As most of you will doubtless know, the BAU trade fair in Munich is the world’s biggest forum for architecture, materials and systems for industrial, commercial and residential construction and interiors.
The show has kept on growing in size and status over the past 20 years and BAU 2013, held last January, welcomed some 62,883 visitors from architectural and planning offices through its doors. Overall, the number of visitors in 2013 totalled over 235,000, with 2,060 companies from 41 countries exhibiting.
We’re understandably delighted that BAU will be our main sponsor at WAD13 this October, and spoke to exhibition director, Mirko Arend to ask him how BAU 2013 went, and what’s in store for architects and planners at the next show, BAU 2015 in Munich…
Mirko, your post-show report on BAU 2013 states that 27% of visitors were either architects, building engineers, from architectural offices, or from planning offices. How does that compare with previous years - are more architects coming to BAU year on year?
Since 2005, BAU has more than doubled the proportion of planners among visitors. BAU is the number one information and communication platform for planners, architects and construction engineers from all over the world. As far as we know, there is no other event in the world at which this visitor group is represented in such numbers and so prominently.
What was the feedback like from architects? What sort of things did they find useful or interesting at BAU 2013?
Daniel Libeskind said about BAU: "This is a fantastic fair! I don't think there is a greater collection of ideas, of possibilities for construction for building, for the whole technology of the industry. I think it's a very good learning experience to see all the variety, presentations, ideas that I hear and to compare also different products and different technical possibilities of innovation. It's a kind of a laboratory where one can really implement many many things in the world of building, design, construction, technology."
Which exhibitors might have been of particular interest to architects?
BAU, with a total area of 180,000 sq m, is attended by over 2,000 exhibitors including almost every key player of the building industry, for example Saint Gobain, Schüco, Dorma, Deutsche Steinzeug, Hörmann, WICONA, and Pilkington to name just a few.
Were there any seminars or activities aimed specifically at architects?
Specially aimed at architects, BAU presented two forums about the future of building with topics like parametric design, energy 2.0 and smart urban systems. Additionally, architects could visit special shows like ‘Intelligent Building for the Future of the City’ (Fraunhofer Building Innovation Alliance) and ‘Building for Life’.
Did any well-known architects speak at the seminars?
Many of the world´s leading architects attended or spoke at forums, seminars and award ceremonies at BAU 2013, for example Daniel Libeskind, Ben van Berkel, Stefan Behnisch, and Patrick Schumacher.
Sounds great. So, what’s in store for architects at BAU 2015? Why should they attend?
Architects can meet the key suppliers in the sector. The topics of the forums and special shows will be specially aimed at architects, for example ‘Intelligent Urbanization’ will be one of the key themes for BAU 2015.
Will there be seminars and side-events in addition to the main exhibition that would be of particular architectural or design relevance?
A special highlight will be ‘The Long Night of Architecture’ which guides the visitors to the most attractive and significant buildings in the city of Munich.
Well-known architects will be invited by BAU to present current issues - like at BAU 2013 where Daniel Libeskind presented 'Future of Architecture and Urbanism' and Patrik Schumacher presented ‘Parametric Design’.
But what about the Internet? These days, can’t architects find pretty much everything they need without leaving the office by Googling?
The Internet will never be a substitute for the personal contact and the experience of seeing, touching and comparing the products in reality. This is evident at BAU in the steady increase in visitor numbers of architects.
And, very importantly, where can people find you at WAD13 this October if they want to find out more about BAU 2015?
BAU 2015 will be represented at WAD13 by our US representative Annika Niebuhr. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
WAD13 takes place 6-8 October 2013 in New York. BAU 2015 will take place in Munich 19-14 January.
Interview by Gail Taylor