The Icon 20/20 Architects: Sarah Herda 01.05.09

Sarah Herda 1945-bw

As the director of the Graham Foundation in Chicago, Sarah Herda is the most important person in architecture funding in America. She holds the purse strings of the country's largest private foundation for architecture, which has a history of funding canonical research projects such as Rem Koolhaas' Delirious New York and Robert Venturi's Complexity and Contradiction.

At 35, Herda already has a prodigious career behind her, becoming the director of New York's Storefront for Art and Architecture at the unfeasible age of 23. After a decade there, she moved to the Graham and is seeking to restore the foundation to the kind of influence it had in the 1960s and 70s. "This place has an incredible network that it hadn't been doing anything with, and I wanted to bring that latent potential to contemporary architecture," she says.

As well as steering the foundation back to the contemporary, she has also initiated an exhibitions programme, and is well on her way to, as she puts it, "transforming this place into a place".

 

Image

Adam Laycock

 

Words

Justin McGuirk, Johanna Agerman, William Wiles, Anna Bates, Beatrice Galilee, Oliver Wainwright, Alex Pasternack, Matthew Barac, Sean Dodson

 

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