Press release

First annual round-up for IBA’27

Themes and locations emerging for the international building exhibition

»We were overwhelmed by the response to our call for projects«, reports Andreas Hofer. »The first year of project work clearly showed that there are municipalities, investors, housing associations and companies across the entire region that want to use their projects to shape a bold and futureproof transition for the region. There is broad agreement that this can only happen with the residents on board and with new procedures.«

Hofer sees the plethora of project ideas primarily as an opportunity, explaining that the open collection of projects for the IBA’27 Network initiated a broad-based discussion about the future in many areas. The reception that the building exhibition has got is partly down to the urgency of acute ecological, social and economic challenges in the region, Hofer says. Traffic problems, a lack of housing and the fear of social segregation that this brings are all issues brought to the IBA. »As much as IBA’27 is committed to sustainability as a basis for a socially equitable and futureproof region, it also has to protect itself from unrealistic expectations. As a building exhibition, it can show examples of new directions and provide encouragement, but widescale implementation is the job of the political bodies in the municipalities.«

To implement model projects by 2027, the IBA team launched intensive development processes on the ground in recent months with many different proposal initiators. For example, experts, residents and politicians are working together in several municipalities to come up with ideas for larger construction projects. Together with the IBA, they are examining and refining the competition and award proceedings. For particularly promising proposals, the IBA is negotiating specific agreements with the initiators with joint objectives for the period up until 2027. As IBA’27 Projects and IBA’27 Neighbourhoods, these proposals could become central locations in the year of the exhibition.

Focal themes hone IBA’27 profile

Areas of thematic focus are now also emerging based on the project proposals. »These themes, which will continue to take shape and solidify in the coming years, lend a face to IBA’27. They help us to already concentrate our resources on particularly promising projects, which will tell a good story as an exhibition in 2027 and will present answers that are relevant internationally«, explains Andreas Hofer.

The key themes resulting from the project collection at present are:

The Productive City: Living and working, retail, low-emissions industry, urban agriculture, culture and leisure time come together in vibrant and futureproof high-density, mixed-use neighbourhoods.

The Future of Centres: Changes in how people shop and spend their free time mean that city centres and peripheral zones are searching for their role as centres that help forge identity.

Places for Moving and Meeting: Several municipalities from the region want to transform their suburban rail stops and surrounding areas, which are currently often mere transport hubs, into vibrant urban areas where people like to congregate by 2027.

The Legacy of Modernism: The search is under way for new strategies for approaching large building complexes from the era of 1960s and 1970s post-war modernism that are often very valuable in terms of their significance for building culture. In addition, the Weissenhof Estate is to be sensitively restored as a prototype of Modernism for its 100th anniversary.

The Neckar River as a Liveable Space: Pilot projects and experiments to win back the Neckar and its tributaries as a liveable space and a connecting link that forges the identity of the Stuttgart Region.

Huge involvement in specialist forums – IBA’27 team continues to grow

It is not just at project level that the IBA is getting a big response. The specialist forums initiated a year ago have also progressed well, as IBA’27 CEO Holger Haas reports. The forums on the topics of Politics and society, Business and mobility, Planning and building as well as Research and technology are the thematic groupings for what are now 21 working groups comprising roughly 400 people – from committed residents to highly respected research specialists. They convene twice a year for plenary sessions. The next plenary session takes place from 4 pm on 21 November 2019 in Stadthalle K3N in Nürtingen.

»The response to the call for projects and the huge interest in the working groups and specialist forums meant that our team was kept very busy in the past year«, says Haas. IBA’27 GmbH now has 16 employees from different disciplines and moved into a larger office space at Alexanderstraße 27 in March in response to this development. Three more project manager positions will be filled in early 2020.

Holger Haas himself, who has headed up IBA’27 GmbH since it was founded in 2017, will hand over the directorship in full to Andreas Hofer when his contract finishes at the end of 2019 as planned. Haas will in future once again devote all of his time and energy to his role as Division Head at Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart GmbH (WRS). As part of that role, he has worked together with many partners on progressing the preparations for the IBA since as far back as 2014. Holger Haas says that he will retain close links to IBA’27: »I will be happy to contribute on a project-by-project basis, especially on the topic of sustainable mobility, which falls under my remit at WRS.«

Lord Mayer Fritz Kuhn assumes the role of supervisory board chair

There is also a change regarding the position of chair of the supervisory board of IBA’27 GmbH: Lord Mayor of Stuttgart Fritz Kuhn assumed the role of Chairperson in October as planned, with Regional President Thomas S. Bopp as Vice Chairman. The chair of the board, which includes a total of 20 representatives of the partners, alternates every two years between the City of Stuttgart and the Stuttgart Region in accordance with the articles of incorporation.

»IBA’27 is a major opportunity for the city and the region to get even more connected«, said Fritz Kuhn on taking over as Chairperson of the supervisory board. »The projects that will be created in the urban region need to have a particular impact. They have to be similar, but still need to be unique in their own right yet internationally recognisable. I hope they will develop their own language and typology in the same way that the Weissenhof Estate did 100 years ago, not just in terms of architecture but also in the way we live together as a society.«

»The supervisory board supports the IBA with constructive content-based discussions that are not coloured by political affiliations.« This is how Thomas S. Bopp describes the work over the past two years when he chaired the board. »This reflects the wide support that the IBA has in the entire Stuttgart Region. The foundations for this support were laid during the preparatory platform process initiated in the region back in 2016.«

New book to document IBA’27 trajectory

As far back as 2016, the IBA was already an open, dialogue-based format with a broad-based participatory platform process featuring workshops and public events for narrowing down topics. This preparatory phase is documented in a recently published book. The compilation is entitled »Auf dem Weg zur IBA 2027 StadtRegion Stuttgart« and is edited by Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart GmbH (WRS), which organised the IBA platform process on behalf of the Regional Assembly. WRS Managing Director Dr. Walter Rogg has this to say: »Our book highlights just how many different perspectives have been included in the IBA process and the different people who were involved in it. In this diversity lies the special strength of the IBA: It will bring multifaceted ideas, impetus and indeed controversies to the Stuttgart Region and will provide innovative answers to the challenges to life, housing and working in our time.« The book is published by the Stuttgart-based specialist publisher av edition and will be available to purchase from November 2019.


Exactly 100 years after the European avant-garde of architecture presented their then-radical »Wohnprogramm für den modernen Großstadtmenschen«, a housing programme for city dwellers, in Stuttgart’s Weissenhof Estate (Weissenhofsiedlung), the International Building Exhibition 2027 StadtRegion Stuttgart (IBA’27) will endeavour to find new answers to the question of what our lives, homes and work will be like in the digital and global age.

The Building Exhibition will be managed by IBA 2027 StadtRegion Stuttgart GmbH. The partners are the City of Stuttgart, Verband Region Stuttgart (an organisation of local authorities in the Stuttgart Region) and the Stuttgart Region Economic Development Corporation (Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart GmbH), the Baden-Württemberg Chamber of Architects and the University of Stuttgart. The partners contribute to the ongoing funding of IBA 2027 StadtRegion Stuttgart GmbH in proportion to their shareholding. The State of Baden-Württemberg will provide total funding of EUR 2.5 million to IBA’27 in the period from 2018 to 2027.

In order to bundle the knowledge from the Stuttgart Region and to involve the public as well as the region’s numerous organisations, companies and initiatives, there are 21 working groups in four public specialist forums on the topics »Politics and society«, »Business and mobility«, »Research and technology« and »Planning and building«. They convene twice a year for plenary sessions. The next plenary session takes place from 4 pm on 21 November 2019 in Stadthalle K3N in Nürtingen.

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