louise harpman

louise harpman

architecture director

Louise Harpman has 19 years of experience leading architectural teams in programming, project development, and design for public, institutional, and private residential projects. She is co-founder and partner at Specht Harpman Architects, an award-winning firm with rigorous standards for modern design. Founded in 1995, the firm maintains offices in New York City and Austin, Texas. Specht Harpman was recognized in Wallpaper* magazine’s Architects’ Directory as one of the “top 50 up and coming architectural practices from around the world.”

Specializing in work for creative companies and individuals, Specht Harpman’s client list includes Prada, OXO, Focus Features, HD Net Films, and MTV, as well as filmmaker Ang Lee and producer James Schamus. The firm has been honored with a number of design awards, including those from the New York AIA (American Institute of Architects), Austin AIA, the Texas Society of Architects, and two Design Distinction awards from I.D. Magazine. The work of Specht Harpman has been published in many national and international publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Wired, New York Magazine, Architectural Digest, Dwell, Metropolis, Architectural Record, Architecture, AD, Residential Architect, Interior Design, Interiors, and W magazine, as well as on HGTV.

Before founding Specht Harpman, she worked as a designer at Eisenman Architects and Buttrick White & Burtis Architects. She also worked as a project manager for the City of New York in its Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development.

Louise maintains a commitment to teaching as well as practice.  As an award-winning architectural educator, Louise has a national and international reputation as a passionate advocate for design excellence and sustainability and serves often as a competition adviser and juror.  She is Associate Professor of Practice in the areas of Architectural Design, Urban Design and Sustainability at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.  She previously taught at the University of Texas at Austin, where she was the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Fellow of the Harwell Hamilton Harris Regents Professorship in Architecture.  She also taught at the Yale School of Architecture and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Architecture and Planning.  Throughout her teaching career, she has led many community-based public design  projects, including work with the Brooklyn Public Library, New York City’s Design Trust for Public Space, Austin Children’s Museum, Downtown Austin Alliance, and the Austin Fire Department.

Louise received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University. She holds a Master of Philosophy degree from Cambridge University and received her Master of Architecture degree from Yale University, where she was awarded the AIA Henry Adams Certificate and the Janet Cain Sielaff Prize.

Louise is the author of the Brooklyn Public Library Design Guidelines.  She is the co-editor of Perspecta 30: Settlement Patterns. She is an Associate of the American Institute of Architects, a Senior Fellow of the Design Trust for Public Space, Inc., and a member of the Architectural League of New York,  the Municipal Art Society, and the New York Academy of Sciences.