Winfried Nerdinger completed his doctorate in art history after studying architecture at the Technical University of Munich. After teaching for a year as a visiting professor at Harvard University, he was appointed Professor for the history of architecture at TUM in 1986. He was instrumental in establishing and developing Germany's most important special and research archives for architecture at the TUM, which he later transformed into TUM's Architekturmuseum. The museum received its own exhibition rooms in the Pinakothek der Moderne in 2002, which meant that Nerdinger became a member of the board of directors of the Pinakothek that year. In addition to numerous other awards, the architectural historian received the Bavarian Architecture Prize and the Bavarian State Prize for Architecture in 2011.
In 2012, Winfried Nerdinger retired as a professor. At the same time, he assumed a new office as the founding director of the Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism. Nerdinger continued to have an affiliation with his alma mater as an Emeritus of Excellence.
In July 2019, Nerdinger will take up his new post as President of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts. He has already held the office of the director of the Department of Fine Arts of the Academy since 2004. According to its founding charter, the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts is to observe the development of the arts and "promote them in every way that appears expedient". In addition, it should "contribute to the intellectual debate between the arts and between art and society".