PD Dr.-Ing. Mag. Michael Falser

Heisenberg Programme

From Windhuk to Tsingtau and Samoa. German-colonial architecture: from a global construction project around 1900 to a transcultural heritage today?

Academic Career and Research Areas

Dr. Falser (b.1973) conducts research in the areas of gloal architectural history (18th to 21st centuries), cultural heritage and historic preservation, with a special focus on transcultural entanglements between Europe, Asia and Africa. In his current DFG-Heisenberg research project German-colonial architecture as a global project around 1900 and as a transcultural heritage today he  conceptualises the German-colonial architectural production (c. 1884-1914) from the perspective of architectural history in its structural globality (module 1), and configurates the today still existing building remains of the German-colonial era and their gradual transformation processes, during the subsequent political regimes over 100 years (1920-2020) and over three different continents and in a reciprocal relation to mainland Germany, as a transcultural heritage in postcolonial and global space (module 2).

Dr. Falser studied architecture at the Vienna Technical University and the École d’architecture Paris-La Villette, and wrote his PhD thesis at the Technical University of Berlin. He studied art history at the Vienna University and passed his ‘Habilitation’ (professorial qualification) in 2014 at the Philosophical Faculty of Heidelberg University, in his function as project leader at the DFG Cluster of Excellence ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context - The Dynamics of Transculturality‘. Between 2015 and 2019 he held visiting professorships at the universities of Vienna, Kyoto, Bordeaux-Montaigne, Paris-Sorbonne and Heidelberg. He also worked as preservation architect in San Francisco and is currently also UNESCO-World Heritage consultant for ICOMOS International.


    • 2019 DFG Heisenberg-Program Fellowship
    • 2013 Fellow at Forum for Transregional Studies, Berlin
    • 2013 Fellow at Centre Allemand d'Histoire de l'Art, Paris
    • 2012 Scholarship of the Gerda Henkel Foundation

    Falser, M.: Angkor Wat – A Transcultural History of Heritage [Volume 1: Angkor in France. From Plaster Casts to Exhibition Pavilions; Volume 2: Angkor in Cambodia. From Jungle Find to Global Icon]. Berlin-Boston: DeGruyter, 2020.


    Falser, M. (ed.): Cultural Heritage as Civilizing Mission. From Decay to Recovery. Heidelberg: Springer, 2015.


    Falser, M.: “The Graeco-Buddhist Style of Gandhara – a ‘Storia ideologica’, or: How a Discourse Makes a Global History of Art”. Journal of Art Historiography (2015/2 issue)


    Falser, M.: (ed.): Denkmalpflege statt Attrappenkult. Gegen die Rekonstruktion von Baudenkmälern – eine Anthologie. Bauweltfundamente 146. Ed. with A. von Buttlar, G. Dolff-Bonekämper, A. Hubel, G. Mörsch. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2010. 


    Falser, M.: Zwischen Identität und Authentizität. Zur politischen Geschichte der Denkmalpflege in Deutschland. Dresden: Thelem, 2008.