Designers are well used to playing with form and function, but for those of us more attuned to designing our homes with standard products, it’s fascinating to learn that the entire principle of standardised sizing was only brought into play in the twenties.
Ernst Neufert, a German architect, was responsible for ensuring that everything from kitchen counters, to paper, bricks and pavement slabs are standardised. The change began when Germany’s government decided to standardise office paper sizes – a decision which was then radical.
The First Book of Standards
This move seemed bureaucratic, but it inspired Neufert, who was modernist in his work and keen to create standards in design and architecture that would streamline and simplify projects. His work would eventually change much of the shape, size and power of Germany in the post-war period, and continue to influence how architects work even to the current day. He created a book called the Architects Data – a vast book, which was filled with the ideal dimensions, or standards, for every single product or project that he could think of. It is still so utterly relevant that most people in the field still call on it today.
Why did it he do it? Like many students of the time, Neufert was fascinated by industrialisation. He was working in a period when the first famous Ford T was being produced in America using assembly line, and experts across all fields were looking at ways to apply efficient industrial processes and technologies to their own fields. The smart logic, efficiency and predictability of results was hugely appealing to Neufert and others, who were keen to see those benefits realised for construction projects.
So today, thanks to these building standards, even the layout of your favourite shop and restaurants, and those smart new tensile structures in urban centres, is determined by this seemingly obvious concept – everything from temporary coverings to permanent fixtures.
Whilst building the permanent structures contractors can make quite a lot of mess so its always beat to purchase a Dust Monitor from links like mattsmonitors.co.uk/construction-dust-monitors.html and this will help you keep a safe level of dirt in the environment.
One Man’s Vision
And yet, despite this influence that he had on the shape of the modern world, his name isn’t as well-known as it should be, even amongst designers and architects. Perhaps as the ultimate ‘behind the scenes’ man however, Neufert would be happy enough knowing how far his efforts shaped everything around us that we see today.