Grey Room

Standardization Reconsidered: Normierung in and after Ernst Neufert’s Bauentwurfslehre (1936)

Nader Vossoughian

Ernst Neufert. Bauentwurfslehre, 1936. Title page.


During the last century, studies of standardization in architecture and design have been limited by a series of elisions between wholly different vocabularies. In the work of some architectural historians, the term “standardization” tends to be equated with mechanization, prefabrication, or mass production; for others, standardization is conflated with typification (Typisierung). Vossoughian argues that standardization should also be thought in Canguilhem and Foucault’s term normalisation (Normung or Normierung). Through an analysis of Ernst Neufert’s Bauentwurfslehre and its reception in architecture and related fields, and the rise of the Deutsche Institut für Normierung (DIN), Vossoughian makes the case for expanding the architectural analysis of modes and practices of standardization in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.