Smart planning creates smart buildings and happy users

The German-Chinese information campaign GENIUS provides decision-makers in China with information to plan sustainable buildings. Although the Chinese government is promoting sustainable building, many architects, owners and decision-makers in China focus on aesthetics and size alone without giving much thought to long-term functionality and future user satisfaction.


“Buildings in China are usually subject to less intensive and extensive planning compared to Germany“, says Dr. Dirk Schwede, Leader of the German-Chinese network GENIUS: “Even though it is worth it for users and managers to plan every building individually and not to arrange the different technologies in a building – such as solar protection, insulation, heating and cooling technology or lighting – separately but to integrate and coordinate them.”

The activities of the networks GENIUS, which forms part of the campaign “Shaping the Future – Building the City of Tomorrow”, are aimed at making Chinese decision-makers aware of the benefits of a sustainable planning culture.

For instance, the network makes numerous international, especially German, studies, guidelines and best-practice reports from Germany available in China via a social media newsgroup in order to show that sustainable, needs-focused buildings offer greater functionality and can be planned to offer greater value for future users. They can be managed and marketed more effectively, they last longer, save on energy and resources, protect the environment and climate and result in happier users and managers. Careful planning also helps to avoid unnecessary costs caused by oversize purchases and above all create a long-term positive investment in the sustainability of cities.

Many young Chinese architects and engineers are aware of these benefits because they study “Sustainable construction” at universities. But only very few graduates get the opportunity to use their expertise and system knowledge in applied building projects in China. Schwede says: “It is precisely this centrepiece of sustainable building – the integrated planning phase including its knowledge-based and creative approaches during which all individual requirements of the new building as well as the needs of future users are analysed, linked up and coordinated – which owners in China currently fail to incorporate or pay for due to a lack of knowledge or understanding.”

The network aims to support the change towards a sustainable planning culture in two workshops due to take place in the late summer of 2017, whose objective is to increase decision-maker awareness of the benefits of a thorough planning phase. International and Chinese experts will demonstrate the potential quality features of a school building based on examples, showing what the different school users require, what planning is needed and how this can be financed and implemented. This awareness campaign is rounded off with a newly produced information film and two further digital communication formats.


University of Stuttgart
Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK)
Dr. Dirk Schwede
Pfaffenwaldring 14
70569 Stuttgart
Phone +49 (0)711 – 685 67643