Architecture is an export commodity in a globalised world. Not in terms of a specific design style, but in the form of international architects, institutions and networks. The Network for Architecture Exchange (NAX), an initiative of the German Chamber of Architects, has become an established instrument and global network partner for German and non-German architects, engineers and specialised planners since it was set up in 2002. PROFILE spoke to Claudia Sanders, project coordinator of the network, about “made in Germany” and the work of NAX.
Networks open doors
PROFILE: NAX has been advocating the export of German planning services in the »value added chain« for 16 years now. How do you support planners in entering new markets?
Claudia Sanders: German architects of all disciplines, specialised planners and engineers are internationally renowned for their high quality in planning and expertise in integrated construction. The aims of NAX are to facilitate international professional mobility and to increase the business opportunities of German planners overseas as well as the networking and cooperation between them. So we develop ways to connect developers in different countries, and also in Germany, with one another. These can be delegation visits, congresses, bilateral exchanges of experience, business dialogues as well as exhibitions which we use to present and promote planning services abroad that are »made in Germany«.
PROFILE: Has the focus of NAX changed since 2002?
Claudia Sanders: The initiative’s focus has very clearly shifted overseas since it was set up. Planners come to us with specific projects and questions and we use our network to direct them to the right places. We get queries from abroad as well, for instance from clients who know about NAX and are looking for an architect for a specific project with experience in a certain country and culture. We can then put them in touch.
PROFILE: Do you operate all over the world?
Claudia Sanders: No, there are still some blank spots on the map. In Africa, for example, we are still underrepresented, which is partly to do with the type of construction work – which tends to be large industrial projects and infrastructure projects – and the structure of small and medium-sized developers in Germany.
PROFILE: Which markets are in demand at present?
Claudia Sanders: China continues to be an interesting market, as is south-east Asia and Indonesia in particular. We are also concentrating on Arab countries and North America, and Europe of course. Part of our activities in 2018 will take place here.
PROFILE: Schüco has been supporting the Network for Architecture Exchange (NAX) as a main partner since 2017 . What does this partnership mean for Schüco and for NAX?
Claudia Sanders: As an international player, the close link between Schüco and its partners, and its related aspirations in terms of quality and »made in Germany«, make it a valuable partner for NAX and its members. The international orientation and the sales structures of Schüco in the various countries give it a very diff erent insight into these markets. And the contacts on the ground with their signifi cant expertise are valuable partners in meeting the many diff erent challenges.
Photos: © Uwe Steinert, Berlin, Fotos China: © NAX/BAK