Anna Heringer

Aga Khan Design Critic in Architecture

Anna Heringer is an architectural designer from Salzburg, Austria. Her work focuses on the use of local materials, skills and energy sources to create buildings that are distinct and undeniably from their place. In 1998, Herringer lived in the village of Rudrapur, Bangladesh, as a volunteer for Dipshikha, a local non-governmental organization. In that same town in 2005-2006, her diploma project, a school built from mud and bamboo, came to fruition. Following this success, in 2007-2008 she coordinated students from Bangladesh and Austria to build a vocational school and a pilot project on rural housing in Rudrapur. Her experience in Bangladesh taught her at a grassroots level that architecture is a tool to improve lives. The main aim of her projects is to build the confidence of people—the craftsmen, the local community, the youth—and to nurture trust in their endogenous potentials. Her projects aim to strengthen cultural identity, support local economies and foster ecological balance through architecture.

From October 2008 to May 2011 Anna led the studio BASEhabitat—architecture for development at the University of Arts in Linz, Austria. She lectured worldwide and conducted international workshops in Bangladesh and Austria. Since 2010 she has been the honorary professor of the UNESCO Chair Earthen Architecture Programme. Her work was shown at MoMA in New York, la Loge in Brussels, Cité d`architecture and du patrimoine in Paris, the MAM in Sao Paulo, the Aedes Galery in Berlin and at the Venice Biennale in 2010. She recieved a number of awards such as the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (2007), the AR Emerging Architecture Awards (2006 and 2008), the Archprix–Hunter Douglas Award (2006) and, most recently, the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture in 2011.

At the GSD Anna will study construction methods based on natural materials and human labor focusing on their impact on society, environment and building culture.