BAU 2013: more international, more top-class and more professionalMüller Ahlhorn
BAU, the world’s leading trade fair for architecture, materials, systems, has become even more international, even more top-class and even more professional. This can be summed up as 6 successful days at the fair, which once again brought the No. 1 industry platform full halls with enthusiastic exhibitors and visitors.
Despite partly adverse weather conditions with snow-covered roads and hundreds of flight cancellations, more than 235,000 trade visitors came to Munich again, thus again reaching the record value of 2011. In terms of international visitors, the 60,000 mark was exceeded for the first time. Particularly strong increases were recorded from Russia (2,920 visitors), China (1,091) and Japan (750). According to the exhibitors, the quality of BAU improved once again, both in terms of stand architecture and product presentation, and in terms of the quality of the trade visitors. BAU once again lived up to its reputation as the “fair for architects”. Once again, around 50,000 visitors came from architecture and planning offices.
Exhibition Director Reinhard Pfeiffer sees BAU clearly on course for success: “BAU has fully met the high expectations placed in the fair. With 50,000 architects and planners, it has absolutely lived up to its claim to be the world’s most important trade fair for architects. The very satisfied exhibitors were also pleased with the further increase in the internationality of the trade visitors. The increase is due to countries outside the EU such as Russia and China. BAU has thus clearly underlined its leading international trade fair character”.
BAU’s reputation as the world’s leading trade fair for the sector is based not least on the architecturally high-quality stand constructions of many exhibitors, and this has never been more evident than at BAU 2013. More than ever before, companies spared no effort to make a strong impact during the six days of the fair. Spectacular stand constructions, exhibition halls full to bursting at the brim, non-stop intensive technical discussions at the stands and well-informed customers from all over the world looking for tailor-made solutions for very specific projects – these impressions will be remembered and explain the lasting success of BAU. 2,060 exhibitors from 41 countries presented themselves on 180,000 square metres of hall space, including the who’s who of material, component and system manufacturers.
Dieter Schäfer, Chairman of the BAU Exhibitors’ Advisory Board and Chairman of the Management Board of Deutsche Steinzeug Cremer & Breuer AG, therefore also emphasised in his conclusion the further increase in the quality of the exhibition stands: “In addition to the innovative products and the professional competence of the stand personnel, they reflect the outstanding position of BAU. BAU has impressively confirmed its position as the world’s leading trade fair”. Like many other exhibitors, Martin Hörmann, Deputy Chairman of the BAU Exhibitors’ Advisory Committee and personally liable partner, Hörmann KG, had the impression that BAU attracted even more visitors from abroad: “In my estimation, the public was even more international. From the point of view of Clemens Bierig, Managing Director of PCI Augsburg, BAU was able to raise its already high level once again: “BAU is a very demanding fair, also in terms of the public. It is increasingly living up to its claim to be the world’s leading trade fair for the sector. In Europe it has long since become the central building trade fair. Jan van Moerkerke, Internal Sales Manager, RENSON, Belgium, expressed a similar opinion: “BAU is the trade fair you have to be at. This is where export opportunities and new potentials open up. Nowhere else can you reach so many visitors in such a short period of time”.
The fact that BAU has meanwhile developed into an absolute “hot spot” for architects from all over the world was more than clearly demonstrated by the array of star architects who were guests at BAU this time. Daniel Libeskind, on whose design the “One World Trade Center” is currently being built, travelled from New York to BAU to meet his no less prominent colleagues Christoph Ingenhoven, Juhani Pallasmaa, Mario Cucinella, Andrei Borkov and Jean-Michel Jaspers. One of the highlights of BAU 2013 was certainly the panel discussion on sustainability by the six renowned architects. Other guests at BAU were Patrik Schumacher, Hadi Teherani, Bert van Berkel, Tobias Wallisser, Stefan Behnisch and Werner Sobek.
Once again the three BAU forums proved to be absolute crowd-pullers, especially among the younger generation. Experts from the world of planning and building, including big names on the architecture scene, presented their views on topics such as Energy 2.0, Parametric Design, Engineered Materials and Urban Mining. When, for example, Dutchman Bert van Berkel spoke about the future of design, the forum in Hall C2 resembled a crowded lecture hall. Being able to experience top speakers free of charge, authentically and up close in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the fair is another unique selling point of BAU.
The overriding theme of BAU this time was sustainable planning and building, the various facets of which were examined and discussed in forums and special shows, not only from a technical and functional point of view, but also from a sociological and economic one. The corresponding special shows were realised by the Fraunhofer-Allianz BAU, the DGNB German Sustainable Building Council, the ift Rosenheim and the GGT German Society for Gerontotechnology ®. Green was the dominant color for many exhibitors, who focused their product presentations entirely on the “Green Building”.
Once again numerous prizes were awarded at BAU, including the 1:1 prize “The First House” in cooperation with “Bauwelt”, the WAN Product of the Year Award 2012, the AIT Innovation Prize, the Prize for Product Innovation – Praxis Altbau, the prize “Built on IT – Building Professions with a Future”, the Building Materials Market Oscar and the Bavarian Engineering Prize. The highlight was certainly the announcement of the winners of the Archi-World-Academy, a competition organised by BAU together with the architecture portal Archi-World. The twelve winners, who were selected from well over 1000 applicants from all over the world, can look forward to six-month internships with top international architects and were enthusiastic about working side by side with their future employers. The jackpot was drawn by Diana Vatinyan, who was selected by Daniel Libeskind for a six-month internship in his New York office. “What happened today leaves me speechless,” said the young architect from Russia.
BAU 2013 was opened by Peter Ramsauer, Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, who travelled to Munich accompanied by his Japanese counterpart Shigeru Kikukawa, Deputy Minister for Engineering Affairs, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Ramsauer was confident that the energy turnaround in Germany would develop “into an export hit”. In this context, he also emphasized the importance of energy-efficient building refurbishment.
A highlight of BAU was once again the Long Night of Architecture. With more than 20,000 visitors it once again clearly surpassed the already impressive premiere two years ago. (see also BAU press release No. 23)
BAU’s character as a business and innovation platform is also reflected in the survey conducted by the market research institute TNS Infratest (comparative figures in brackets). According to this survey, 97% (2011: 96%) of visitors rated BAU as “excellent to good”, and 95% (97%) intend to come back again. Top ratings were given in particular for the completeness and breadth of the range of products and services on offer, and for the presence of the market leaders. 94% (93%) of visitors see BAU as the leading trade fair. 94% of those surveyed who came to BAU to prepare for investments also said that they had achieved this goal, and 92% even made concrete investments. And 92% of those who wanted to find out about new products also found what they were looking for. The supporting programme, too, with forums and special shows at the forefront, received top marks from almost all visitors. Once again BAU showed that it is a fair by professionals for professionals. The proportion of trade visitors this time was 94% (95%). The economic upturn on the German construction market can also be seen from the survey. No less than 83% of those surveyed rated the current situation in the sector as “excellent to good”, 45% believe that it will improve in future.
On the exhibitor side almost all (95%) rated BAU as “excellent to good”. Likewise, almost all exhibitors (98%) intend to take part again in 2013. As in 2011, 95% of the exhibitors gave top marks to the quality of the visitors. Just under half of the BAU exhibitors believe that the economic situation in the sector will remain good, and similarly to the visitors, 43% think that it will improve slightly or even strongly in future.
The next BAU will take place from 19 to 24 January 2015 at the Munich Exhibition Centre.