Skip to content



Sarah Herda

Chicago, United States

Since 2006, Sarah Herda has been Director of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Founded in 1956, the Graham Foundation is the largest foundation in the United States committed to awarding project-based grants to individuals and institutions working at the forefront of architecture; it also produces public programs to foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. Herda is credited with transforming the foundation’s headquarters, the historic Madlener House, into a world-class public venue for architecture exhibitions and building one of Chicago’s most celebrated venues for public programs. In addition to hosting internationally renowned architects, artists, historians, and critics to present their work, Herda has produced an exhibition program featuring the work of Cecil Balmond, Thomas Demand, Bjarke Ingels, Nancy Holt, Judy Ledgerwood, Stanley Tigerman, Anne Tyng, Denise Scott Brown, and Robert Venturi, among others.

From 1998 until 2006, Herda was Director and Curator at Storefront for Art and Architecture, an experimental exhibition space founded in New York City in 1982 that is recognized internationally as a vital platform for emerging ideas. While at Storefront, Herda collaborated with hundreds of architects and artists on a variety of projects, including more than 40 exhibitions.

Before being named Director of Storefront, Herda was Director of the Center for Critical Architecture/Art and Architecture Exhibition Space in San Francisco, and she also worked in architectural publishing at the Monacelli Press.

Herda teaches at the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and she has frequently been an invited critic and speaker at institutions such as the Architectural Association, London; Arkitekturmuseet, Stockholm; Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, New York; Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge; IIT College of Architecture, Chicago; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Princeton University School of Architecture; and University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Ann Arbor, among others.

Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Architecture Organizations, as well as on advisory boards for The Architect’s Newspaper, LAXART, the Mills College Art Museum, and Storefront for Art and Architecture. Herda is an Emerging Leader, class of 2015, at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. In 2009, she was named one of Icon magazine’s 20/20—a list of 20 architects and 20 designers who are changing the way we work and think.

The City is the Site