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BAU 2013: More international, more professional, more innovative

BAU, the World´s Leading Trade Fair for Architecture, Materials, Systems, is more international, classier and even more professional than ever before. That, in a nutshell, is the impression gained after six successful days at this No. 1 sector platform featuring once again packed exhibition halls and delighted exhibitors and visitors. Despite sometimes difficult weather conditions, with snow-covered roads and hundreds of delayed or cancelled flights, once again over 235,000 trade visitors made the journey to Munich, matching the record figures of 2011. In terms of visitors from outside Germany, the 60,000 mark was exceeded for the first time ever. There was particularly strong growth in the number of visitors from Russia (2,920 visitors), China (1,091) and Japan (750). The view among the exhibitors was that the quality of BAU this year had improved still further, both as regards booth design and product presentation, and the quality of the trade visitors. And this year again, BAU lived up in full to its reputation as an "architects' fair". Once more around 50,000 of the visitors came from architectural and planning offices.

BAU´s reputation as the world´s leading trade fair for the sector is based not least on the architecturally very sophisticated booth designs of many exhibitors – at BAU 2013 this was more evident than ever before. More than ever before, the companies spared no effort in ensuring they would make their mark during the six days of the show. Spectacular stand constructions, packed exhibition halls, non-stop intensive trade talks at the stands and well-informed customers from all over the world, looking for tailor-made solutions for specific projects – these are the lasting impressions of this year´s show, and they explain BAU´s enduring success. A total of 2,060 exhibitors from 41 countries put on their presentations on 180,000 square meters of hall space – it was also no less than a "Who´s Who" of material, building component and system manufacturers.

BAU is also now a real magnet for architects from all over the world, a fact that is evidenced very well in the array of star architects that were guests at BAU this time. Daniel Libeskind, who designed the One World Trade Center currently under construction, traveled to BAU from New York, and met up here with his no less prominent colleagues Christoph Ingenhoven, Juhani Pallasmaa, Mario Cucinella, Andrey Bokov and Jean-Michel Jaspers. One of the highlights of BAU 2013 was without doubt the panel discussion between these six famous architects on the subject of sustainability. Also a guest of BAU were: Patrik Schumacher, Hadi Teherani, Bert van Berkel, Tobias Wallisser, Stefan Behnisch and Werner Sobek.

A real hit with the audience, in particular the younger generation, were once again the three forums at BAU. Experts from the world of design and construction, among them some really big names in architecture, talked about their view of themes such as Energy 2.0, Parametric Design, Engineered Materials and Urban Mining. When, for example, Dutchman Bert van Berkel was talking about the future of design, the forum in Hall C2 looked like a crowded lecture hall at a university. The opportunity to experience top speakers, free of charge, authentic and up close, right in the heart of the action of the fair – that too is a really unique attraction of BAU.

The overriding theme at BAU this time was sustainable planning and construction, illuminated and discussed in all its facets in the forums and special shows, in terms of not only technology and function, but also social and economic impact. The special shows on this theme were organized by the Fraunhofer Building Innovation Alliance, DGNB Deutsche Gesellschaft für nachhaltiges Bauen, ift Rosenheim and GGT Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gerontotechnik . For many exhibitors green was the dominant color, in line with the "green building" theme of their product presentations.

Once again, as part of BAU, numerous prizes were awarded; these included the Bauwelt Award "1:1 First House", the "WAN Product of the Year Award 2012", the "AIT Innovation Award Architecture and Building", the "Award for Product Innovations 2013 – Praxis Altbau", the "Built on IT – Building jobs with a future" Award, the "Building Retail Oscars" and the "Bavarian Engineering Prize". The highlight was surely the announcement of the winners of the Archi-World Academy Awards, a competition organized jointly by BAU and the architectural portal Archi-World. The twelve winners, selected from a total of well over 1,000 applicants from all over the world, can look forward to a six-month internship in the practices of top international architects. The delighted winners posed side by side with their future employers. The top prize went to Diana Vatinyan from Russia, who was selected by Daniel Libeskind to spend six months in his New York office.

BAU 2013 was officially opened by Peter Ramsauer, Germany´s Federal Minister for Transport, Building and Urban Development, who traveled to Munich in the company of his Japanese counterpart in office, Shigeru Kikukawa, Vice-Minister for Engineering Affairs, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Dr. Ramsauer expressed confidence that the new energy era would usher in an "export boom" for Germany. In this context he also emphasized the importance of increasing the energy efficiency of existing buildings.

The Long Night of Architecture was once again a very special attraction at BAU. With over 20,000 participants, it exceeded the already highly successful premiere of two years ago.

The character of BAU as a business and information platform was reflected also in the survey conducted among participants by market researchers TNS Infratest (figures for last time in brackets). According to this survey, 97% (2011: 96%) of visitors rated BAU as "excellent to good" and 95% (97%) said they intended to come back again next time. The highest ratings were given in particular for the breadth and depth of the range of products and services on show, and for the presence of market leaders. 94% (93%) of the visitors regard BAU as the leading trade fair. 94% of the ones surveyed who had come to BAU to pave the way for investment decisions, said they had in fact achieved that goal. 92% had made specific purchases. Equally 92% of those who said they had come to find out about new products and innovations, were successful in their search. The supporting program, above all the forums and special shows, was also given top marks by almost all visitors. Once more it was clear that BAU is a trade show by professionals for professionals. The proportion of trade visitors this time was 94% (95%). The revival in the German construction market is also reflected in the survey. As many as 83% of those surveyed said they thought the current situation in the sector was "excellent to good", and 45% believed that it would improve still further in the future.

On the part of the exhibitors, almost all of them, i.e. 95%, described BAU as "excellent to good". And again almost all the exhibitors – 98% – said they want to take part again in 2015. As in 2011, 95% of the exhibitors gave top marks to the quality of the visitors. Almost half of the BAU exhibitors believe that the economic situation in the sector will remain good, and, like the visitors, 43% believe things will improve slightly or even significantly in the future.

The next BAU takes place from January 19 to 24, 2015 at the Messe München exhibition center.

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