What is Bau Biologie or Building Biology?
1. Overview of the Topic – Summary:
Pronounced “Bo” “Bee-ah-la-ghee”, its origins are based in Germany as a form of healthy, green and sustainable building. Unlike many other developments in the fields of healthy, green and sustainable building, Bau Biologie & Ecologie has a specific emphasis on the entire built environment process and the whole person, as well as the overall Ecology of the planet. It considers the relationship of the whole person and the built environment; mentally, physically and emotionally.
It began as research in the late 1960’s and developed during the 1970’s predominantly in Germany and Switzerland with it’s headquarters in Germany as the IBN:
From the IBN website:
“The Institute of Building Biology + Ecology Neubeuern (IBN) was founded in 1983. The IBN grew out of the work of the “Arbeitsgruppe Gesundes Bauen + Wohnen” (Work Group Healthy Building + Living) since 1969 and the former “Institute of Building Biology” since 1976. Prof. Dr. Anton Schneider, Ph.D., was and is the founding director of all three institutions.”
It has been roughly translated from the German words “bau” as building, and “biologie” as biology, yet the Swiss architect and engineer Bosco Bueler, known as the godchild of Bau Biologie, has discussed this definition in several of his english speaking lectures with the concept of Bau Biologie being three different words “Bau-Bio-Logie”.
Therefore, a more ideal English translation according to Bosco, taken from Bau-Bio-Logie, would be better defined as “Building for Life” or “Building with Wisdom”.
Bau Biologie (Building Biology) was then brought to North America in the mid 1980’s by Helmet Ziehe as he translated the German course into English and created the Institute of Building Biology. There are a number of branches of Bau Biologie/Building Biology located around the world, with updated information on the IBN website.
2. What is the focus of this Topic?:
Bau Biologie & Ecologie/Sustainability originated in Germany when a small group of people were striving to figure out the source of illnesses in the 1960’s and 70’s (post World War II). A medical doctor, a building/wood specialist and a writer were all doing research on the origins of these unknown illnesses that were being seen in post World War II Germany.
After many years of research, this group of individuals began to find consistencies in these illnesses that originated from the built environment as “sick buildings” or from people getting sick in certain built environments. Post World War II Germany had been rebuilt using modern synthetic materials and methods that included a tighter building enclosure for better energy efficiency, yet this resulted in less fresh air and an increase in chemical exposure(s) to those living in these newly built structures.
When the founders of Bau Biologie & Ecologie became aware of these issues, they started to note the impact that the built environment has on human health. They noticed the physical ailments, yet they also noted that the built environment had an impact on the individual’s emotions, as well as their mental state of health.
This process began a deeper evaluation of the impact and influence that the built environment had on human health and well being. It has continued to research and develop health, green and sustainable solutions for decades.
Key points of Bau Baulogie: Considering the whole building, the whole person and the whole of ecology in the process of building.
3. Why it’s listed here – What is the relevance to Architectural Medicine?
Bau Biologie (Building Biology) is among the most advanced fields of research into how the built environment affects human health and well being in all facets of human and ecological health; physically, emotionally and mentally, and is therefore one of the most advanced fields in the overall impact of how the built environment impacts human and biological health.
As Architectural Medicine is based on viewing the big picture and all facets of human and ecological health, it is one of the closest connections to this viewpoint and approach to the built environment.
As Winfried Schneider from the IBN states “Building biology is the study of the holistic relationships between people and their built environment. Its goal is to create a healthy, natural, sustainable and well-designed living and working environment. Buildings and spaces refer to building biologists as the “third skin” of humans. This expresses how closely we are intertwined with our built environment. ”
4. Common groups and individuals involved with this topic:
The main Bau Biologie & Ecologie organization is located in Germany as the IBN: Institut für Baubiologie + Nachhaltigkeit IBN
The main IBN in Germany is led by: Winfried and Rupert Schneider
Also the Swiss architect Bosco Büeler has been a leader in the field: Bosco Büeler
The IBN has more links to worldwide organizations involved, and here is a quick list of groups around the world that provide information and training on Bau Biologie/Building Biology:
In England: Building Biology Association BBA
In India: Centre for Building Biology
In Turkey: Yapı Biyolojisi & Ekolojisi Enstitüsü – YBE
- Focus: 25 principles of Building Biology – https://buildingbiology.com/principles-of-baubiologie/