Anna Heringer is the principal architect of her firm Studio Anna Heringer based in Laufen, Germany. Anna is recognized for her significant role in sustainable architecture, using natural materials with many notable projects across the globe. She has garnered a point of view in serving communities influenced by her learning about sustainable development at the Dipshika NGO, Bangladesh. This experience gives her a firm sense of conviction to reckon on locally accessible materials and resources by exploring within the constraints. She believes, “Architecture is a tool to improve lives.”
Here are 15 iconic projects by Anna Heringer:
1. METI School, Bangladesh.
METI School in Bangladesh is one of the most empowering projects created by Anna. While construction blindly depends on advanced technology it subdues the strength locally available earthly materials like mud frequently as underrated for construction. This project defies such notions by predominantly using earth as a primary material. The project uses earth and bamboo to promote employment amid low-cost labor in rural areas as prime action towards potential development. Engaging the local labor mitigates the persistent migration from rural to urban, it collaterally strategies employment for the locals and eradicates the dependency on external systems – creates a strategy to cultivate and develop building skills among the local population on a grassroots level which improves the collective quality of living in rural areas.
2. DESI Training center, Rudrapur, Bangladesh.
DESI Building is a model of self-sufficiency and appropriateness with various challenges in a rural setting that aims to form an enhanced standard of living with traditional levels of sustainability. As a vocational school of electrical training, DESI Building accommodates classrooms, offices, residences for the school instructors with a separate bathroom for the teachers on the upper floor. A bathroom with toilets and sinks for the students is on the ground floor. This model depends on good craftsmanship, planning, and designing besides the monetary profits that it generates, however, the architectural motto is to eliminate the barriers that frequently depend on social and financial status, and promotes learning of technical building skills without being dependent on foreign materials that are high in cost. The design aims to include all household activities under a single roof resonating with the rural context and culture, irrespective of the lifestyle and not the typical traditional house that allocates separate areas collectively built around a central courtyard.
3. Wormser Dom’s sanctuary interiors.
In 2019 a beautiful cathedral St. Peter of Worms celebrated its 1000th-anniversary to date visited from all around the world. Renowned Baroque architect Balthasar Neumann designed the altar in the Baroque period that lost its primary function to celebrate the Eucharist after the Second Vatican Council in 1959. The initial design was exquisite for any alterations that it resulted in a momentary wooden altar under the central dome. As for Anna, Germany was not a material deficit place, but the task was to connect the cultural context with the sense of belonging while conveying meaning in relationships through strategic sustainability. She ruled out using elaborate design and materials instead of opting for primary material that invites the community irrespective of age and strength to build the altar unitedly. This resulted in emotional liberation accompanied by a sturdy sense of community belonging that felt the need and respect as a part of the society and cherished the unique experience with others of one’s efforts dedicated to building.
4. Bamboo Hostels in Baoxi, a village in China
Bamboo Hotels, China is a unique project that accommodates three hotels – the dragon, the nightingale, and the peacock. It aims to set a high standard of skilled local craftsmen to an advanced level. The community will benefit from profits generated by creating a secure, delightful structure built using natural materials, primarily bamboo. The architecture hinges on similar material representing divergent forms; it hides mud behind the fake bamboo facade. The shape of the design is inspired by the rich tradition and heritage of Baoxi where the vessel-like form is an abstraction of basket weaves and ceramic vases; the central core made of rammed earth forms sleeping units express Chinese lampshades glowing at night.
5. Anandaloy: Centre for People with disabilities
In rural areas where poverty is a dominant aspect when accompanied by a disabled member in a family further exaggerates the burden. They hide away disabled people or disbar them instead of providing aid. This project provides a therapy center which is a rarity in the country and areas like Rudrapur later expanded as a host of workshops for female tailors in the village. It provides an opportunity to learn and earn in the building while engaging with the community and treat the people. The architecture defies mud being poor compared to brick. The design uses the strength of mud and showcases its boundless beauty. In every aspect, this project breaks the impression of a regular straight erection of walls through molds that are replaced by free-flowing curves to projecting mud as a prime elegant material.
6. Kindergarten, Zimbabwe
The PORET community in Zimbabwe are believers of holistic sustainability, aimed to be humane towards the forces of natural entities and people. The project pivots around building with sustainable techniques based on the principles of nature which encourage regional craftsmanship and local methods of construction. The design forms a timber structure with suitable depth forming niches, an alcove inspired by a bird’s nest becomes a place for retreat and similar activities. For functions like training and a dormitory, they created a neutral room along with surrounding benches at various places. The structure intricately crafts colorful windows with solid frames for kids to enjoy the structure. The presence of termites and ants on the site strongly prohibited the survival of any structure posing an unavoidable challenge. The building structure could turn to compost and mix with the earth because no damage is a positive aspect.
7. Omicron Monolith – Omicron living rooms
The project commits to support craftsmanship locally, including Bangladesh and India that will function as meeting rooms for the workers within the three sculptures for company employees. This project aimed to create a high-quality space that simultaneously impacts the social economy by collaborating with an exorbitant amount of local craftsmanship. The three elements – the monolith, steps, and zeppelin on a stand is the structure and volume divides into two levels. Timber is used to create the structure enveloped by a layer of handwoven silk from outside.
8. Training Centre for Sustainability, Morocco
Inspired by two Moroccan archetypes: the rural Ksar – as a compact place of community and the urban – medersa devoted to the training students, the building had a sole purpose to serve as a center for sustainable construction teaching. The project transforms naturally available resources with the lowest level of entropy resulting in maximum benefits for the locals. A zestful sculpture depicts modern language for an old material at the patios and gardens that play with light and shadow lit up through rough surfaces hold culture at the core of its soul along with the needs and aspiration of present society. The project houses a spacious garden, a cafe, an exhibition hall, a library, and an auditorium that remains open for the public. The uniqueness of the construction and natural cooling systems is experienced by visitors through the atmosphere, aesthetic, and technology used in the space.
9. Ways of Life
The geographical location of the house provides a minimal ratio of the earth to rest on, both in terms of ecological factor and actual footprint additionally demands its residents to obey the orbit of seasons stringently. The plan of the house is determined by the climate because of which the ground floor is open shaded space acting as a workshop that can be closed as per needs. The first floor has essential works like kitchen, bathroom, beds, working tables, and a living area accommodating two people. To be sustainable and self-sufficient, it contains a garden for food cultivation, a wooden tower for the staircase, including solar collectors, and a small windmill at the top which generates electricity. The overall structure is based on self-building to intensify the quality of living using the materials such as timber, limestone, mud, and lime plaster available on the site.
10. Majiayao Masterplan
Majiayao, province of Gansu, China has a unique landscape from mountains to river plains. The culture of this region is known for painting-pottery displayed in the surroundings. It paves the way to a holistic architectural approach where the earth is a prime building material for all structures of the master plan. Even after years if it gets eroded can be used for handmade structures. The project defines a traditional Chinese courtyard typology in an alternative form, keeping in mind the requirement to create built and open spaces, distinct atmospheres within workshops, museum spaces with outdoor facilities. The site is agricultural land so the primary material for construction was earth which will help continue agricultural facilities. The project admires natural materials by displaying their beauty and strength, and that it could use them in contemporary architecture will provide a variety in the urban and rural regions of China.
11. Majiayao Ceramics Museum
The Majiayao Ceramic Museum is based on earth as a construction material that resonates with fired ceramics and unfired clay walls naturally. The museum consists of niches that exhibit as per the age and era on socles, some hanging or standing where niches and standing socles permit flexibility to display. There are high voids in the roof which fills the space with light directly opposite to the earth walls that hold ancient pottery, and also creates a space for ceramic pieces by well-known artists. The inner courtyard becomes a central space surrounded by earth completely and a brilliant view of the sky. The idea for the project was to create a space that appreciates the cultural identity and turns to be a very inspiring space with all creativity put in the design.
12. Campus for Sustainability St. Michael
The Campus St. Michael in Traunstein, Germany is adding two new buildings designed by Studio Anna Heringer in partnership with Koehler Architekten + BeratendeIngenieure GmbH. The material for construction is wood. Architecture studio Zeller &Romstaetter will assist the planning locally as it projects the form of a rammed earth building. Die Grille and the Muehlbacher und Hilse will guide and design the landscaping of the new campus as landscape architecture firms.
13. Omicron relaxing paces
The project focuses on the internal space design that provides a sense of identity for five different themes. All five rooms based on themes belong to Afghanistan, Ecuador, Mexico, Ghana, and Tanzania. The project partakes craftsmen from Vorarlberg and other developing communities to focus on ethical and ecological factors that affect the production rather than using many products and materials. As a result, the design justifies the seamless combination of culture with the local setting and generates sustainable profits that could be useful to support the craftsmen. Every room has a unique character of design with specific mud work that enhances the overall aesthetic value and sustainable properties.
14. K. Modi University Campus
KK Modi University Campus in Durg, Chhattisgarh, India is adding a new complex of the building which will house brand-new living spaces for both students and teaching staff whose construction will base on local mud and a traditional building technique called “Zabur” – a wet mud shaped by hands without a formwork recently designed by Studio Anna Heringer.
15. LD Arena
An arena for La Donaria (Ronda, Spain) is being designed by Studio Anna Heringer along with Martin Rauch, which also accommodates a new horse stable. The construction will use beautiful dark red soil that is readily available on the site.