Baerbel Mueller is an architect and researcher based in Austria and Ghana. She is the Dean of and Associate Professor at the Institute of Architecture (I oA) at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, and founder and head of [APPLIED] FOREIGN AFFAIRS, a lab, which investigates spatial, environmental and cultural phenomena in rural and urban Sub‐Saharan Africa and the Middle East. She is founder of nav_s baerbel mueller [navigations in the field of architecture and urban research within diverse cultural contexts], which has focused on projects located on the African continent since 2000. Her work comprises architecture, urban research, installations, scenography, and curatorial projects, and has been widely shown; e.g. at the Venice Architecture Biennale, Marrakech Biennial, the Architekturmuseum Pinakothek Munich, AzW, and the Vienna Biennale. She was awarded the Austrian Ars Docendi State Award for excellence in teaching (2015), edited [applied] Foreign Affairs ‐ investigation spatial phenomena in rural and urban Sub‐Saharan Africa (Birkhäuser, 2017) and Structures of Displacement (Birkhäuser, 2020), co‐designed Nubuke Extended, the new masterplan and gallery space of the Nubuke Foundation Accra (with Juergen Strohmayer, 2019), and co‐curated Ecologies & Politics of the Living (with Ibrahim Mahama and Elisabeth Falkensteiner) for the Vienna Biennale 2021. She is co‐editor of forA on the Urban (2021‐).

Magdalena Gorecka is an architect working and teaching in Austria, Ghana, and Poland. She graduated with a master of architecture degree from the University of Applied Arts Vienna. She is currently teaching in the [APPLIED] FOREIGN AFFAIRS lab at the Institute of Architecture at the Angewandte in Vienna and works as a visiting lecturer at several universities, such as ETH Zurich. She gained her professional experience working at international firms, mainly developing cultural and residential projects with MVRDV. She has been working with [A]FA since 2017, where she co-designed the awarded New Guabuliga Market and then co-taught the Tamale Territories lab. She is developing her own practice, Foil&Soil. Foil&Soil is a material and architecture design practice focused on designing future fossils of the Anthropocene and spaces that bring together deep geological time and current consumerism.

Philipp Reinsberg is an architect, researcher and lecturer. He studied architecture and indust­rial design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, but started his career working as a carpenter in Germany for a company that specializes in restoring wooden objects and structures. He gained international experience on different interdisci­plinary projects and regularly develops social interventions and experimental wooden structures in various constellations. Philipp was a key member of the [A]FA labs between 2012 and 2014, during which he co-designed the internationally awarded Haduwa Apata project in Apam, Ghana. Since 2016, he has been working for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization as an international expert in design and wood technology. He was part of the “Conceptual Joining” research team funded by the PEEK program of the Austrian Science Fund FWF, and was also a co-editor of the book Conceptual Joining (Birkhäuser / edition Angewandte 2022). He also teaches a course at the Institute of Art Sciences and Art Education (DAE/DEX) at the Angewandte called “Studio Holz,” focusing on design, experimentation and fabrication with solid wood and wood-based materials.

Abdul-Rauf Issahaque is a Ghanaian architectural designer and researcher dedicated to sustainable design and space efficiency. Born in Wa, Ghana, in 1992, Abdul-Rauf trained as an architect at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, where he graduated with distinction in 2018. His approach to design is inspired by how space interacts with its immediate surrounding, taking into account presented opportunities without compromising the importance of nature. His search for clarity in design and truly sustainable developments guides him through his design process and signature style, which emphasizes the elegance in simplicity and the authentic aesthetics in pure materiality. Abdul-Rauf’s interest in urban research focuses on a critical approach to the multifaceted complexities that arise between the natural and built environment. He joined [APPLIED] FOREIGN AFFAIRS as a student in 2018, worked on other [A]FA projects later, and has been guest teaching in recent lab projects. He also collaborates with JustGhana in its charity and infrastructural reaching out to less privileged communities in Ghana, including the fight against climate change.

  • Margit Applegate
  • Student Assistant

Margit Applegate is pursuing her master’s degree in architecture at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. She previously studied architecture at Virginia Tech in the US and TU Braunschweig in Germany. Margit has been involved in the Tamale Territories Design [A]FA Lab since 2022 and became the student assistant in the fall of 2023.

Juergen Strohmayer is an architect based in Accra, Ghana, and Vienna, Austria. His work is informed by practice, research, and teaching, conducted in collaborative settings. After working with architectural offices in London, Los Angeles, Vienna, and Abidjan, Strohmayer is developing his independent practice. He recently completed the widely-published project Nubuke Extended, an art gallery and campus in Accra in collaboration with nav_s baerbel mueller. Strohmayer lectured at the Ethiopian Institute for Architecture, Building Construction, and City Development (EiABC) and the University of Applied Arts Vienna, where he graduated in 2015. He has exhibited at Acadia in LA (2014), Goethe Institut Addis Ababa (2016), and the Marrakech Biennale (2016). He is a recipient of the Tische Scholarship and Austrian state grants. In 2019 he co-edited the publication [a]FA East Legon Past Forward.

Frida Robles is a Mexican artist and curator. She situates her practice within the philosophy of the essay with a focus on site specificity. Her artistic practice ranges from public art installations to performances to textual work. In 2015, she received the FONCA Young Creators scholarship in Mexico. Since 2014, she has participated in different artistic residencies in the USA, Portugal, Germany, Austria, India, Senegal and Sweden. She has collaborated as a co-teacher, co-curator and co-editor with [APPLIED] FOREIGN AFFAIRS since 2017. She is currently a PhD candidate in the art history department at University of Applied Arts Vienna (with support from the JUMEX Contemporary Art Foundation).

Daniil Zhiltsov is a student of architecture based in Vienna, Austria. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Moscow Architectural Institute, he started a master's program at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Starting from 2020, he joined several [A]FA lab projects in Tamale, Ghana, and became a student assistant in the summer semester of 2022.

Gregorio Lubroth is an architect living and practicing in Vienna, Austria. He received a bachelor's degree in history and fine arts from Wesleyan University in 2000 and a master's degree in architecture from Yale University in 2007. In 2000 he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in Turkey, Syria, and Central Asia to study medieval caravan stops. After a year in the Near East, he returned to New York City to work in the fields of architecture, urban design, and fine arts. In 2007 he co-founded Tzou Lubroth Architekten. Over the past ten years, the practice has established itself as a strong voice among a new generation of Viennese design. Its awards include two German Design Awards, an iF Award for interior design, two Big SEE awards, two Creative Club Austria awards, and three nominations for the National Design Prize. In 2016 he co-founded the urban design collaborative Team Wien, which investigates the future of communal life in cities through alternative ways of activating public space.