Winfried Nerdinger

Prof. Dr.-Ing.

Former professor of history of architecture
TUM School of Engineering and Design

born August 24, 1944


Interview with TUM Emeritus of Excellence Winfried Nerdinger

"We must face up to our history"

Since 1988 Professor Winfried Nerdinger has repeatedly demanded that Munich also take a critical look at National Socialism. More than a quarter of a century later he opened the Documentation Center for the NS History as its founding director. [read more]


Winfried Nerdinger has made decisive contributions to the research of recent architectural and art history and to raising public awareness of the importance of architecture. His research focuses on the architecture of classicism and historicism, international New Building, architecture under National Socialism and European reconstruction after the Second World War.

After studying architecture at TUM, he received his doctorate in art history. In 1986 he accepted a professorship for the history of architecture at TUM and in 1989 he was appointed director of the TUM Architecture Museum, which he headed until 2012. He was founding director of the NS Documentation Center in Munich until 2018. Guest professorships took him to Harvard and Helsinki. Prof. Nerdinger is the author and editor of over 400 scientific publications. Since 2018 he ist President of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts.

He earned particular renown during his time as professor of architecture history, a position that was created specifically for him at TUM. Here, together with the architecture museum, he created the largest special and research archive for architecture in Germany, which was integrated into Munich’s Pinakothek der Moderne museum in 2002. Under his supervision, the museum – which has become a unique institution in Germany combining collections, teachings and research – came to display a broad and diverse program of different exhibitions. The spectrum ranges from historical topics to the presentation of current architectural trends and engineering achievements. Winfried Nerdinger put together more than 70 exhibitions and recorded these for posterity in seminal catalogs. His projects also frequently brought him into contact with the architecture of National Socialism. In 2012, he was elected founding director of the NS Documentation Center in Munich, which was just being established. He was therefore entrusted with the important task of establishing a permanent collection on the history of National Socialism in Munich.


Short biography

1965 – 1971 Study of architecture, TUM
1979 Doctorate in art history
1985 Appointment, McGill University, Montreal
1986 – 2012 Professor of history of architecture and director of the Architecture Museum, TUM
1995 – 2012 Director of the Architecture Museum of Swabia, Augsburg
2012 – 2018 Founding director of the NS Documentation Center, Munich


Memberships and honors

Associate member, Association of German Architects (BDA)

President, International Confederation of Architectural Museums (1989-1994)

Member of the board of directors, Pinakothek der Moderne (2002-2012)

Director, Department of Visual Arts, Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts (2004-2019),
President of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts (since 2019)

Chair, "Alvar-Aalto-Gesellschaft", Munich (since 2006)

Head of German Research Foundation project “Hitler’s Architects: Troost, Speer, Fick and Giesler” (2007-2015)

Head of the research project "Hitler as 'Architect': Dilettante and Dictator", University of Vienna, Chair of Art History (ongoing)


Exhibitions (extract)

Frei Otto – Leicht bauen, natürlich gestalten (Lightweight construction, natural form) (2005)

Ort und Erinnerung – Nationalsozialismus in München (Place and memory: National Socialism in Munich) (2006-2007)

Architektur wie sie im Buche steht. Fiktive Bauten und Städte in der Literatur (Architecture by the book: fictional buildings and cities in literature) (2006-2007)

Munio Weinraub und Amos Gitai – Architektur und Film in Israel (2008-2009)

Geschichte der Rekonstruktion – Konstruktion der Geschichte (History of reconstruction – construction of history) (2010)

Der Architekt – Geschichte und Gegenwart eines Berufsstandes (The architect – the occupation in history and the present day) (2012-2013)



  • First Class Knight of the Order of the White Rose of Finland (2002)
  • Architecture Prize from the Bavarian state Capital of Munich (2006)
  • Medal “München leuchtet”, culture prize from the Bavarian Capital of Munich (2006)
  • Leo von Klenze Medal, supreme building authority, Bavarian State Ministry of the Interior (2009)
  • Bavarian Architecture Prize and Bavarian State Prize for Architecture (2011)
  • Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2017)

You can download "Explanations of honors and awards" here [PDF 215 KB]


Key publications

Nerdinger, W: Walter Gropius. Architekt der Moderne. C..H. Beck München, 2019 

Nerdinger W: 100 Jahre Deutscher Werkbund 1907/2007. München: Prestel, 2007.

Nerdinger W: Ort und Erinnerung. Nationalsozialismus in München. München: Pustet, 2006.

Nerdinger W: Leo von Klenze – Architekt zwischen Kunst und Hof 1784-1964.
München: Prestel, 2000.

Nerdinger W: Der Architekt Walter Gropius. Berlin: Gebrüder Mann, 1996.

Nerdinger W: Bauen im Nationalsozialismus – Bayern 1933-1945. München: Prestel, 1993.