Tanja Herdt was an associate professor of Theory and Methods of Urban Design at TU Delft, currently guest researcher at the section, and Professor of Urban Planning and Design at OST Institut für Raumentwicklung in Switzerland .
She is both an academic and a practicing urban designer. She works on problems of urban transformation, investigating the role of urban design and urban analysis on the sustainability and livability of cities. Her research links theories and methods from urban design with architectural history and anthropology to investigate questions of ecology, equality, and social change in the built environment. In her work, she likes to uncover the dependencies of social practices and urban form, investigate the potential of urban typology and public space for adaptation and change, and study the influence of digitalization on city design and citizen participation.
Tanja studied Architecture and Urban Design with Thomas Sieverts at Technical University Darmstadt and received her doctorate from the Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich. Before joining the faculty at TU-Delft, she worked as the head of research for sustainable settlement design at the research center ETH-CASE in Zuirch. Here she did research projects on sustainability, social equality, and housing.
Tanja is a licensed architect at the German Chamber of Architects and Urban Planners. From 2015 to 2020, she was head of the interdisciplinary Urban Design Unit at Metron, CH, where she specialized in urban densification and public space design projects. Amongst her works of practice are the urban design scheme for the mixed-use residential district Lysbüchel Süd in Basel, 2017 – 2022, as well as public space design schemes such as the study for the city university campus in Zurich (HGZZ, with Gehl Architects) and the new city quarter Klybeckplus in Basel.
Tanja is the author of The City and the Architecture of Change, published in German and English at Park Books, Zurich. Her research and urban design works are frequently published in academic journals and were exhibited amongst others at the Venice Architecture Biennale, 2014, the Swiss Museum of Architecture, 2007 and 2018, and the Zurich Architecture Centre in 2019. Her recent work includes the curatorship of the 2019/2020 festival and exhibition “Wie wollen wir wohnen? 100 Jahre Wohnbaugenossenschaften Zürich” exploring the future of communality and housing in Switzerland. Contributions to books include amongst others chapters in Architecture on Common Ground (ed. Hertweck, Lars Müller), The Intrinsic Logic of Design (ed. Buurmann, Niggli), and, Vergessene Schulen: Architekturlehre zwischen Reform und Revolte um 1968 (ed. Misselwitz, Spector Books).
Tanja was awarded the Prospective Researchers Grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation, SNSF, for her work on design methodology and the influence of system theory on urban design. She was also the recipient of the CCA Research Fellowship (ETH Zurich / Canadian Centre of Architecture, Montréal) for her research on the changing legacy of modern functionalist planning at the beginning of the information age.