The world’s leading building trade fair

BAU 2011, held in Munich, Germany, in January this year, lived up to its billing as the World´s Leading Trade Fair for Architecture, Building Materials and Systems, seeing about 238 000 visitors streaming through the New Munich Trade Fair Centre over the six days of the fair (17 to 22 January). That represented an increase of around 12% on the number of visitors at the 2009 exhibition – and reflected a generally more buoyant, optimistic outlook, among visitors and exhibitors, on the global economic situation. About 22% of the visitors, or 52 000 people, were planners and architects, and almost 60 000 visitors (25%) came from outside Germany – from elsewhere in Europe, including Eastern Europe, as well as from Russia, the UK, USA, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.

The show provided a platform for more than 2 000 exhibitors from 46 countries. Many of them use the biennial exhibition to showcase new developments and innovations in building materials, components and systems, so BAU offers an excellent view of the latest product developments, internationally, in the building industry.

One of the most exciting announcements at BAU 2011 was the official launch of the ArchiWorld Academy – a new competition that is being organised by BAU in cooperation with the online portal Archi-Europe. The competition runs over a period of two years and is directed at architecture students all over the world. The jury will be made up of 12 top international architects. The winners will be announced at BAU 2013 – scheduled to take place14 to 19 January 2013 in Munich. The attractive prize is a traineeship in the offices of the top architects.

Within the accompanying programme of the exhibition a number of forums and congresses were organised relating to the key themes of the event this year – Sustainable Building and Building for Life. The congress ‘Building for the Future – sustainable, energy-efficient and innovative’, for example, was organised by the German Federal Ministry of Building, and ‘Buildings of the Future’ entailed a series of events organised by the German Federal Ministry of Economics. The solar house, designed by the University of Applied Sciences of Rosenheim and erected at BAU, proved to be a major attraction for many.

The ‘Future of Building Forum’ featured international architects presenting some of their plans and projects and the ‘Forum Macro Architecture’ looked at the cooperation between architecture and industry as well as future research in architecture. The ‘Intelligent Building Forum’ covered a wide span of topics – from renovation and modernisation projects through to the construction of modern high-tech buildings such as passive houses and energy-plus houses.

BAU also serves as the platform for various awards presentations, including awards for architectural projects and landscape architecture, for innovative building products and specifically for innovative products used in renovation or modernisation work, and for IT solutions that optimise the job of building.

One of the most popular events at BAU 2011 was the ‘Long Night of Architecture’, which was held for the first time in conjunction with the fair. It was open to all participants in BAU and to interested citizens of Munich. Over 30 buildings in and around the city of Munich opened their doors on the Friday evening for people to come in, look around and find out more.

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