FOC develops first-ever method of assessing quality of Baukultur

Bern, 17.05.2021 - The Federal Office of Culture (FOC) has today published the Davos Baukultur Quality System, which it has developed together with international partners. The System is the first method for the objective and comprehensive assessment of the quality of Baukultur, and offers an aid to the practical achievement of excellence in the field.

The Davos Quality System was developed on the basis of the Davos Declaration and following the international “Getting the measure of Baukultur” conference in Geneva in 2019. It can, for example, be employed by users to assess their own projects, by juries adjudicating competitions, and in participatory processes. It is based on the fact that high-quality Baukultur is not purely subjective but can be assessed objectively, and it therefore sets out eight quality criteria. It includes a form that can be used to determine the quality of the Baukultur at a given place, and where the strengths and weaknesses in terms of Baukultur lie. If the requirements contained in the criteria are met, the result is high-quality Baukultur in the form of well-designed places that adapt to changing social needs while preserving their historical characteristics.

The eight criteria for high-quality Baukultur are Governance, Functionality, Environment, Economy, Diversity, Context, Sense of Place, and Beauty. It is important to emphasise that social, emotional and cultural criteria are placed on an equal footing with technical and functional criteria. 

The finding that the quality of Baukultur in a place has a crucial influence on quality of life and thus people’s coexistence is being given increasing weight. The 17th International Architecture Exhibition 2021 in Venice on the theme of “How will we live together?” curated by Hashim Sarkis, which opened this week, puts places of cohabitation at the centre of the debate. The EU recently launched the New European Bauhaus initiative, which sees sustainable environmental design as partly a cultural project.

The Davos Process

The Davos Baukultur Quality System is part of the ongoing Davos Process, which began in January 2018 with the adoption of the Davos Declaration on “high-quality Baukultur in Europe” by European ministers of culture. In it, European states commit to embedding high-quality Baukultur on a political and strategic level. The Davos Declaration reminds us that building is culture and creates space for culture. More and more countries, organisations, institutions and companies are committing to the Declaration. It is quoted all over the world and widely discussed.

The Davos Declaration forms the basis on which the Baukultur movement will continue in terms of academic content and strategic political orientation. Central themes are being developed scientifically and key terms of the Davos Declaration clarified. At the same time, strategies are being implemented at a political level that acknowledge the cultural aspects of preservation, planning and building and establish high-quality Baukultur as a political priority. These varied, international initiatives are known as the Davos Process. 

Address for enquiries

Oliver Martin, Head of Baukultur Section, Federal Office of Culture, tel. +41 58 462 44 48,


Federal Office of Cultural Affairs