In the course of a century the International Building Exhibitions have emerged as a viable field of experimentation in urban design and thus also as a special “trademark” of planning and architecture in Germany. In order to ensure that the experiences gained with these benchmarks and advances to them in future international building exhibitions can be transferred onto other projects and also set standards in everyday practice, the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development supported the National Urban Development Policy in establishing a network “IBA meets IBA”.

With the objective being to more strongly network all the international building exhibitions, starting in 2007 experts exchange ideas and insights on past, current and future international building exhibitions at the IBA meets IBA lab.

Click here for an historical outline of the IBAs:

IBAs in progress

2023 | IBA Thüringen | A cultural landscape in a state of transformation

The next IBA in eastern Germany will once again focus on a landscape theme: the planning and creative challenges of the energy turnaround in Thuringia. In this context, against the background of an aging and declining population, a key focus is the reinforcement of regional cycles. The manager of IBA Thüringen, which launched in 2013, is Dr. Marta Doehler-Behzadi.
Website of the IBA Thüringen

2020 | IBA ParkStad | Redevelopment in a formerly industrial region leads to redevelopment of the mind

The first Internationale Bauausstellung to be held in the Netherlands begins its work in the region of Limburg. Up until 2020, this IBA will dedicate itself to the extensive transformation of a former mining area: In an area where a specific industry has gone into complete decline, with the population following suit, the intention is to tap new economic potential, advance urban renewal, and drive the energy turnaround forward. The IBA is involving local citizens early on in the process, with the aim of bringing about a change in values and awareness among the population. Director of the IBA ParkStad is Jo Coenen.
Website of the IBA ParkStad

2020 | IBA Basel | Networking across borders

Up to 2020, the IBA Basel will focus on spatial links within the “Dreiländereck”, where Germany, Switzerland and France meet. In the summer of 2013, the IBA toured all three countries for the first time. As it did so, the exhibition presented itself and the first candidates for projects. The manager of the IBA Basel is Monica Linder-Guarnaccia.
Website of the IBA Basel

Bygone IBAs

2013 | IBA Hamburg | Projects for the future of the metropolis

Between 2006 and 2013 Hamburg explored the development of big cities in the 21st century, using the district of Wilhelmsburg as an example. With Uli Hellweg as director, the overriding question addressed by the IBA was how big cities could meet the challenges of globalization and how these impacted on architectural culture. The IBA focused on this question in three key thematic areas: the search for the potential offered by an international urban society (cosmopolis), urban planning and architectural concepts for dealing with city suburbs (metro zones), and the impact of climate change on building culture. By deciding on Wilhelmsburg as the area of study, the IBA also made a previously socially disadvantaged area of the city and its potential the main subject of discussion.
Website of the IBA Hamburg

2010 | IBA Urban Redevelopment | A state as a laboratory for urban redevelopment

The IBA Urban Redevelopment in Saxony-Anhalt sought answers to the issue of population decline and thus shrinking towns and villages. Headed by Omar Akbar and Philipp Oswalt, planners and architects in 19 towns and cities explored new tools of city redevelopment by way of example. The focus was mainly on small and medium-sized towns and cities, such as Eisleben and Dessau, which in this way aimed to realign strategies in urban development. Thus, on the initiative of the Federal Government the IBA for the first time extended across an entire federal state.
Website of the IBA Urban Redevelopment

2010 | IBA Fürst Pückler Land | New landscapes

The first IBA in the former East Germany was dedicated to the reinterpretation of a rural region. The aim of the IBA SEE was to instill the former open-cast mining worlds with touristic value and give this now derelict landscape a new identity. Industrial monuments were revamped and presented as such, whilst in the towns and villages this new direction gave impulses for urban renewal.

Here, the team led by Rolf Kuhn took its cue from the experiences gained with the IBA Emscher Park, which had likewise focused on an area with a previously industrial landscape. The IBA SEE ended in 2010.
Website of the IBA Fürst Pückler Land

1999 | IBA Emscher Park, Ruhr region | Focus on the landscape and brownfield sites

Headed by Karl Ganser, the IBA Emscher Park was characterized by a decidedly regional approach, which went far beyond the themes of residential buildings and urban living. In an old industrial region of the Ruhrgebiet, more than 1,000 square kilometers were used to explore landscape and urban-planning impulses for ecological, economic and cultural reconstruction. The exhibition was initiated by the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, which together with the IBA was seeking solutions for an area undergoing structural change.
Website of the IBA Emscher Park

1987 | IBA Neubau (new builds) and Altbau (existing buildings) | Berlin Critical reconstruction and cautious urban renewal

Thirty years after the Interbau, Berlin was once again the location for an Internationale Bauausstellung (International Building Exhibition), the first to be officially named as such. In 1987 with Josef Paul Kleihues as director, the IBA Neubau focused on new buildings and addressed the critical reconstruction of the historical city. With a focus on old buildings and managed by Hardt-Waltherr Hämer, the IBA Altbau addressed a circumspect urban renewal. It was a response to what was referred to at the time as “modernization of functional weaknesses”, a trend that had prevailed since the late 1960s and which ultimately led to extensive demolition. With its focus on “repairing the city”, the IBA 1984/1987 deliberately contrasted with post-War urban planning, and thus also with the theme of the 1957 Interbau. The IBA was all about the renaissance of downtown as a residential area. Whilst the IBA Neubau was characterized by social housing projects which were for the most part shaped by postmodern, the IBA Altbau increasingly addressed socio-political issues. The answers that emerged flowed into models for circumspect urban renewal – inspired and stimulated in part by the squatter scene in the Kreuzberg district.

1957 | Interbau Berlin | The city of tomorrow

Organized on the initiative of the Berlin Senate under the leadership of Otto Bartning, the 1957 Interbau in Berlin was intended to represent the manifestation of the model urban landscape. The “City of Tomorrow” was construed as a counter-model to the jumbled feel of mixed-use cities of the 19th century that were so notably shaped by the Wilhelminian period. On the basis of an urban planning competition, 53 internationally renowned architects were selected to create individual buildings in a park-like landscape in the Tiergarten district. The architects included Alvar Aalto, van der Brook, Bakema and Pierre Vago, and they created buildings ranging from individual high rises and terraced houses to a district center. At the same time, this experimental mixture was considered an answer from the West to the urban planning models of Eastern Europe as could be found in the eastern part of the city on Stalinallee.

1927 | Weissenhof estate, Stuttgart | Testimony to “New Building”

The German Werkbund succeeded in persuading Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to act as artistic manager of the Weißenhofsiedlung project in Stuttgart. It is considered one of the most significant examples of early 20th century “Neues Bauen” “New Building”, and the manifestation of “classic modernity”. The 21 model houses in the building exhibition were designed by architects like Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Hans Scharoun, the Taut brothers and Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud. In the year of its presentation, 50,000 people visited the ensemble, fuelling the discussion in society about life and living in the industrial age. Open versus traditional footprints, flat versus hipped roofs, the spirit of modernity versus that of perpetuation – the Weißenhofsiedlung offered a wealth of contrasts.

1901 | Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt | An interplay of art and craftsmanship

The building exhibition organized by Josef Maria Olbrich in Darmstadt in 1901 was the first of its kind in Germany. Here architects joined forces with artists to design the Mathildenhöhe art colony, which focused on the interaction of art and craftsmanship, consciously setting itself off from the mass production of the industrial age. Even today, the colony is considered one of the most impressive construction projects of the Art Nouveau period. The most special thing about it was the interaction between the constructed environment and communal living, and the all-encompassing design – from urban construction all the way through to objects in everyday use.