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The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, completed in 2010, is 828 meters high and is currently (2020) the tallest structure in the world
The wooden revolving house following the course of the sun in Hessen

A building (in Switzerland also Baute ) is one of people built structure that difficult to solve with the ground is connected, or at least is in static contact with him.

The term is delimited differently in different contexts. The demarcation to movable property and other objects that do not count as buildings is not entirely clear.

Relatively indisputably, man-made objects are considered to be buildings that are fixed and permanent (mostly on a piece of land ), therefore difficult to detach, connected to the subsurface (as if overgrown with the subsoil) and are therefore immobile. Therefore, these buildings count as real estate . This also includes structures that, as a result of their use, have movable or moving parts of the structure (e.g. revolving restaurant , revolving house , ship lift , non-temporary roller coaster , etc.).

In addition, temporary and relocatable objects with similar applications or functions (as buildings often have) are sometimes referred to as “temporary buildings”, “makeshift buildings” or “flying structures”. However, these are often not perceived as buildings in everyday life. The transitions are often fluid. For example, the case of a pile of firewood declared a building by the Potsdam city ​​administration became known nationwide .

Building is a sub-term of structure (see section Function ).

In German building law, buildings fall under the generic term of structural systems , which is defined in the respective state building codes of the individual federal states.


A building is created through the process or activity of building, i.e. H. by building a permanent structure on the building site . The construction of a structure usually takes place on site on the construction site. The area in which construction takes place, i.e. a structure is erected, is called the production site during the construction phase and the construction site in this phase . A structure consists of individual components , which in turn consist of building materials . The type of construction and the use of the building materials vary depending on the location, the state of the art , the structural requirements of the building project and the building style .

The construction process includes construction planning and construction . During construction, the work is mostly carried out in trades in the construction areas such as u. a. Bricklaying, carpentry, roofing or plumbing work advertised and awarded .

At the construction phase which closes usually use phase of. If a building is not completed for financial or other reasons, it is referred to as an unfinished structure or , colloquially, from an investment ruin . The use phase is often followed by dismantling or demolition , or there is a conversion and a new use phase.

In the context of public building law , development is limited to areas that have been designated as building land .


The earliest finds of human structures are dwellings made of animal bones and mammoth teeth from the beach near Nice, but also burial sites. They were created by the Neanderthals even before Homo sapiens appeared on the European continent.


A basic distinction can be made between above-ground and underground structures, as well as structures on the surface of the terrain. Based on this, buildings are differentiated into civil engineering and structural engineering (although not all civil engineering structures are underground structures and high-rise structures usually have an underground portion).

Buildings can be classified in many ways, for example according to function (see also list ), actual use , location, size, shape , architectural style , construction, building materials used , client , owner, architect .

The HOAI (fee schedule for architects and engineers) differentiates a. between buildings and civil engineering , as well as traffic systems and outdoor facilities .


A structure serves a specific purpose depending on the type of structure . One differentiates essentially:

The list of structures by function gives a detailed overview .

See also

Portal: Architecture and Construction  - Overview of Wikipedia content on architecture and construction


  • Ernst Seidl: Lexicon of building types - functions and forms of architecture. Stuttgart 2006.

Web links

Commons : Buildings  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Bauwerk  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikibooks: Technical altitude records  - learning and teaching materials
  • archINFORM - database for architecture (as of February 11, 2013)
  • Structurae - civil engineering database

Individual evidence

  1. Dispute over building permit for wood piles. In:, September 17, 2016, accessed on May 18, 2017