Long overdue transformation

Thomas Geuder
21. 三月 2023
House of Hungarian Music Budapest, Sou Fujimoto Architects. An all-round glazed façade up to twelve meters high extends under an almost circular, organically undulating roof. (Photo: György Palkó / Jansen AG)

Climate change persists, and it touches all sectors of the economy, especially the construction industry. Solutions must be found for cities and buildings to make them more resilient, but also fit for the future in terms of their energy consumption. The energy turnaround, which aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2045 at the latest, requires all players in the building sector to rethink their approach. For new buildings in Germany, the desired energy standard has been clearly defined since the end of 2020 by the Building Energy Act (GEG) and is basically the easiest to implement. However, around 40 percent of the building stock in Germany was built before 1979, at a time when there were no legal energy-saving provisions. Renovating these nine million residential buildings with about 20 million housing units in the next few years is a mammoth task that will be difficult to accomplish. Demolition and new construction is not always a sensible option against the background of the grey energy bound up in the building, especially from a sustainability point of view. Building regulations, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly complex and sometimes even prevent economic and sustainable construction or renovation. Finding one's own new path as a planning office in this environment is not easy, yet it is necessary in order to noticeably advance the overdue transformation of the construction sector in the coming years.

The building industry must change towards a circular economy in order to curb the consumption of energy and resources for the construction and subsequent operation of buildings. (Photo: Nils Koenning / Lindner Group)
Key themes of building

BAU—the world's leading trade fair for architecture, materials and systems—is of particular importance in these times, because it is here that manufacturers show their ideas and innovations with which the urgent change is to be mastered. To reflect these challenges, this year’s BAU edition has proclaimed five key themes that manufacturers and visitors can follow: The Challenge of Climate Change calls on all experts in the planning and construction industry to seriously observe the factors of climate change and to adapt their own work accordingly at an early stage. This also means seizing the new opportunities offered by the Digital Transformation and making better use of the potential of conceptual and action scenarios by optimizing decision-making and work processes. Another important driver at present is housing construction and the Homes of the Future that are moving towards quality and low-cost housing. Countering the enormous amount of waste in the building sector through an efficient circular economy requires a focus on Resources & Recycling. Finally, the fifth key theme is Modular Building with serially prefabricated components, a promising solution approach that can make an important contribution to building in the future. 

Solutions for building greening at Kö-Bogen II in Düsseldorf (Photo: Benning/Leonhards/Optigrün)
Digital challenge

The physical BAU trade fair in Munich is still the most important contact point for all those working in the construction sector. The corona pandemic, however, has once again brought new opportunities to the internet as a source of communication and information—to which trade fairs such as BAU must also react. Together with the manufacturer-independent comparison platform Plan.One, BAU has therefore developed the specialist portal BAU Insights. In addition to the digital exchange between manufacturers and users from the construction industry, the platform enables access to specialist information 365 days a year. It offers exhibitors the opportunity to make product innovations and company news available in digital form, while platform users have direct access to personalized industry news. Those who use BAU Insights during the trade fair can create individual tours of the exhibition halls using interactive hall plans.

On the edge of Rennes city center, the ceramic facade of a residential complex by MVRDV changes its appearance throughout the day. (Photo: agrob-buchtal.de / Ossip Architectuurfotografie)
Information via many channels

Additional and, above all, valuable input for a visit to the fair is also provided by the extensive supporting program. As usual, there will of course be numerous congresses, conferences, award ceremonies and lecture forums with renowned speakers, as well as special areas and special shows, for example by the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), Fraunhofer Building Innovation Alliance, Deutschen Gesellschaft für Gerontotechnik (all in Hall C2) and ift Rosenheim (Hall C4). The exhibition Building in Existing Structures 2021 by the Bavarian Chamber of Architects (Atrium West) is also recommended. CUBE magazine will be broadcasting the architecture podcast CUBE Talk! from Hall C2. At the new Innovation Hub in Hall B0, the focus will be on the topics of resources and recycling, urban mining, modular construction and innovative building processes, with which the fair would like to emphasize the importance of climate-friendly and resource-saving construction. The atrium between the A and B halls will have a new village-style special area where exhibitors will showcase the advantages of architectural modular construction; in addition, there will be a joint stand in hall A2.

Guided Tour organized by World-Architects at BAU (Photo: Oliver Guse / World-Architects)
Through the trade fair jungle with a guide

Of course, World-Architects will again offer talks and guided tours on Friday, 21 April 2023. The meeting point is the Forum in Hall C2 at 10:30 a.m., where Max Schwitalla (Studio Schwitalla, Berlin), Martin Jasper (Jasper Architects, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Berlin), Anna Heringer (Anna Heringer Architecture, Laufen) and Erez Ella (HQ Architects, Tel Aviv) will first provide top-class input in lectures and a panel discussion, before Martin Jasper and Alexandra Wagner (allmannwappner gmbh, Munich) take visitors on a tour of the exhibition halls. Registration is possible on the World-Architects website. We look forward to your participation!

Exhibition (Image: BAU)
BAU – World’s Leading Trade Fair for Architecture, Materials, Systems 
April 17 – 22, 2023
Trade Fair Center Messe München
Am Messeturm
81829 München
World-Architects Forum und Guided Tours:
Supporting program of BAU 2023:
Key themes of BAU 2023:

List of exhibitors:

Interactive hall plan:

BAU Insights: