Born in 1937 as the son of an architect in Bremen, Brandt did an apprenticeship as a mason and studied architecture at the Academy of Fine Art in Düsseldorf till 1964. As an architect he first practised in Finland, in 1967-69 he lectured as visiting professor at the Institutes for Urban Design and Architecture at Berkeley and Yale universities. He had his practice as an architect in Berlin and held the chair of architectural design at the University of Darmstadt 1991-2002. Ever since, he has travelled in South and East Asia, publishing House and Landscape in Asia (2011, Berlin: Alphaeus Verlag), documenting villages in Orissa and Vietnam and the monastery of Erdene Zu at Mongolia’s ancient capital of Karakorum (in collaboration with Niels Gutschow).
Brandt first came to Nepal in 1999 and documented a village of the eastern Magar in Myagdi District in March 2000. In November 2003 he did the same for Yaphu, a village of Rai in the district of Sankhuwasabha, and in March/April 2006 he and his colleague Nguyen The Phuong documented Kuru, a village of Chetri and Raut Bada, a village of Giri, both located in the district of Bajura and Budu, and a village of Thakuri in Mugu.