Architect Lavinia Herzog

“I am interested in the questions that lie in between the different topics”

Her designs for urban open spaces allow TUM Alumna Lavinia Herzog to roam in the undefined area between nature and art. The love for architecture and design was given to her by her parents, the expertise she acquired at TUM.

Lavinia Herzog inherited her love for architecture and design from her parents: from her mother Verena Herzog-Loibl, a graduated designer from the Ulm School of Design and granddaughter of mathematician Sebastian Finsterwalder, and from her father Thomas Herzog, highly decorated architect, long-standing professor of Building Technology, Dean of the Department of Architecture and, since 2007, Emeritus of Excellence at TUM. Both have fostered her artistic-creative curiosity from an early age on. “It was normal for me to create things and this was also in line with my talent,” Lavinia Herzog recalls. “From an early age I not only wanted to design objects creatively, but looked for harmony between technology and nature, as well.”

A born architect

After an apprenticeship as a draughtswoman, Lavinia Herzog decided to study Architecture at TUM. “To me, TUM’s Department of Architecture seemed to be one of the best in Germany”, she says about her decision, which in retrospect was just the right one: her time studying was the first phase in her life in which she was able to deal with exactly those things that really interested her.

To me, TUM’s Department of Architecture seemed to be one of the best in Germany.

Lavinia Herzog enthusiastically remembers her TUM professor Richard Horden. “His incredibly friendly way of teaching and his personality of integrity greatly impressed me,” she tells us. “I still find it remarkable how he managed in his project work to get every student to go to their personal limit and beyond.” For Lavinia Herzog, this form of support resulted in a first-class diploma thesis, for which she received the Johannes B. Ortner Prize of TUM. Since 2005, the award has been used to promote outstanding research projects by young scientists in the natural sciences and technical disciplines, in particular Architecture and Civil Engineering.

Passionately crossing boundaries

After successfully completing her studies, Lavinia Herzog began her professional life as an architect. After several years in the field of Landscape Architecture, she realised how enthusiastic she was about topics touching on both nature and culture. “I am interested in those questions and solutions that lie in between the different topics”, she explains her preference. “I am particularly excited about the balance and the intellectual exchange of interdisciplinary work.”

Without further ado, Lavinia Herzog decided to return to TUM to study Landscape Architecture. “The interdisciplinary curriculum for the Master’s degree, which I had imagined to be perfect for me at the time – it included projects abroad – was offered here in Weihenstephan,” she says.

In 2007 Lavinia Herzog completed her second degree with a thesis supervised by Professor Peter Latz, Emeritus of Excellence at TUM, and since then has been working in the border areas she finds so exciting: as an architect, landscape architect and designer. “My work deals with the balance between old and new, nature and art, matter and space”, she describes her concepts. “I use the questioning and appreciation of the traditional, the respect for the place, the environment and the resources to develop perspectives for the future and to search for innovations.”

Innovative creator

Lavinia Herzog skilfully integrates historical components or relics of industrial plants into her designs for urban open space concepts in large cities. Here, the open spaces always compliment the planned architecture with respect for what already exists. This approach has been rewarded by coming first in an international competition in Guangzhou. For her hometown of Munich, she designed parks standing on wooden structures. She designed experimental residential buildings as self-sufficient ‘Peaceful Towers’ that ecologically impact the surrounding nature as little as possible. Now the innovative architect is also doing her doctorate on such border areas of design that are located between architecture and landscape. Her love for Italy has led her to the University of La Sapienza in Rome.