Today I've learnt a German word: Baukunst

Flicking through Julys RIBA Journal an article by architect Ian Shaw caught my eye. The article describes his practice’ work in Germany ( and the Germans approach to architecture.

The new word I learnt was Baukunst:

“The recognition of building as an art form”

What was more interesting however was the German culture regarding precision and standards:

German architecture is all about standards and tectonic precision.” and:

In Germany you don’t have to apologise if measurements are out by a couple of millimetres – it’s done again until it’s right. And this applies to all areas of construction“.

Compare this to Ireland (and the UK) and you can see the problem; trying to get accuracy in builds can be very frustrating – the building culture is just not used to it. The problem then occurs that when trying to create contemporary slick solutions that require this level of accuracy; the building workforce is not trained to the same level as the Germans.

It’s very similar to the Caribbean where the local builders have a great expression for their level of accuracy and tolerance: Slant-and-dicular

I’ve written about this profusely already but the Building Control amendments forthcoming in 2014 will help greatly (where the ‘The Owner: Must appoint a competent builder to undertake the works‘. But even with this implementation, we’re still a long way off from Baukunst.

But, there are architects out there (of which I’m doing my best) creating contemporary, residential solutions, working with and training the building work-force in order to achieve the required level of accuracy.

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