Anna Heringer Interview: The Walls Are Dancing


“It is much more than just a building. It’s a social space. It really has an impact on the society, on the community”, says German architect Anna Heringer about her recently finished Anandaloy-center in Bangladesh. “With this building everything comes together.”

The Anandaloy Building hosts a center for people with disabilities combined with a small studio for the production of textiles and fair fashion. It is mainly built out of mud and bamboo from local farmers, thus the biggest part of the budget was invested in local crafts (wo)men. Much more than just a structure, the building became a real catalyst for local development. In October 2020 Anandaloy and Anna Heringer received the Obel Award that honors and recognizes exceptional architectural contributions to human development.

To Anna the Anandaloy project underlines the importance of including everybody in society and let them have their share in the local community. “Mud can be much more than just straight walls”, she says and underlines, how the local workers were engaged in the building process radiating with pride. “The know-how-transfer completely worked out.”

Also features such as a ramp for disabled people contributed to this inclusive approach to architecture. “The ramp triggers questions”, Anna states. “So through the architecture you already raise a lot of awareness. It is beautiful, if you are not just a straight normal box. Diversity is something beautiful and something to celebrate.”

For Anna Heringer, architecture is a tool to improve lives. The strategy of all of her projects is the use of local materials, local sources of energy including manual labor plus global know-how. As an architect and honorary professor of the UNESCO Chair of Earthen Architecture, Building Cultures, and Sustainable Development she is focusing on the use of natural building materials. She has been actively involved in development cooperation in Bangladesh since 1997. Her diploma work, the METI School in Rudrapur got realized in 2005 and won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2007. Over the years, Studio Anna Heringer has realized further projects in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Anna is lecturing worldwide at conferences, including TED and has been visiting professor at various universities such as Harvard, ETH Zurich and TU Munich. She received numerous honors: the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, the AR Emerging Architecture Award, the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard’s GSD and a RIBA International Fellowship. Anna’s work has been widely published and exhibited in the MoMA New York, the V&A Museum in London and at the Venice Biennale among other places.

Anna Heringer was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at her studio in Laufen, Germany, in September 2020.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Edited by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Produced by Marc-Christoph Wagner
Photographs by:
© Stefano Mori and © Kurt Hoerbst
Additional video material by:
Production: POISON
Director: Saralisa Volm
Director of Photography: Anne Bolick

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2020

Supported by Dreyers Fond

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