The ICO Museum presents Anna Heringer’s sustainable architecture, concieved to offer a better future.
The exhibition, organised by the ICO Foundation and curated by Luis Fernández-Galiano, can be visited from 9 February to 8 May 2022.
Anna Heringer (Rosenheim, Germany, 1977), a visionary and multi-award-winning architect with work on three continents, is committed to the use of local materials and techniques to offer a better future. Her work is based on the exploration and use of architecture as a means to support local economies and promote ecological balance.
For her: “Sustainability is synonymous with beauty, and what defines the aesthetic and sustainable value of a building is that it is in harmony with its design, structure, technique and use of materials, as well as in relation to its location, the environment, the user and the socio-cultural context”. The visit proposes a journey through the work and philosophy of Anna Heringer, who is deeply interested in the sustainable development of our society and the built environment.
She focuses her work on the use of local materials and techniques to create buildings that are characteristic of the place where they are located. These concepts are reflected in the exhibition; in addition, the presentation of the projects is supported by textiles made by Bangladeshi women who reproduce the floor plans and elevations of their buildings. The exhibition is completed with texts (such as the Laufen Manifesto, promoted by the architect herself), photographs, drawings and maquettes that trace a route through the principal projects undertaken by Anna Heringer since 2006.
In all her works she applies one of the most important lessons learned in Rudrapur, the rural village in Bangladesh where she built her first project – the METI Rural School, Aga Khan Award 2007 – and where, today, she continues to work and collaborate in initiatives for local progress: that the most successful development strategy consists of relying on existing and readily available resources and making the most of them, rather than relying on external systems.
This leads it to involve local communities in the construction of all its projects, not only as a way of ensuring that they meet the needs for which they were designed, but also as a means of providing training in traditional construction techniques to enable the future personal and professional development of its members. Not forgetting that this type of involvement develops a sense of belonging in the community that guarantees the proper and lasting conservation of the buildings. This way of working is embodied in his maxim “Form follows love” which, in contrast to Louis Sullivan’s famous “Form follows function”, exemplifies the revolutionary nature of his conception of architecture.
Moreover, with projects such as the RoSana Centre guesthouse – winner of a New European Bauhaus Award in 2021 – in Germany, or the ecotourism project at Cortijo La Donaira in Ronda, Spain – both developed in collaboration with Martin Rauch – he has demonstrated that building with earth, a fundamental element in all his architecture, is perfectly viable in today’s Europe.