Harpman, Louise

Louise Harpman

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  • Yale School of Architecture, 1993
  • Cambridge University, 1988
  • Harvard University, 1986

Years of practice



  • Specht Harpman | Architects

Professional organizations

  • Joined AIA in 2003

Related websites


Austin, Connecticut, London, New York, New York City, Texas, commercial, institutional, interiors, residential, sustainable


Early life and education

Born Oklahoma City, OK.

Harvard University. A.B. cum laude in East Asian Studies. 1986.

University of Cambridge. M. Phil. in Social Anthropology. 1987.

Yale University. M. Arch. in Architecture. 1993.

Career in Architecture

  • Founding Partner, Specht Harpman | Architecture, New York, NY and Austin, TX.
  • Architectural Designer. Buttrick, White & Burtis. New York, NY.
  • Architectural Designer. Eisenman Architects. New York, NY.
  • Project Manager. City of New York, Special Initiatives Program, Koch Administration.


  • Senior Fellow, Design Trust for Public Space, Inc.
  • Member, Architectural League of New York.
  • Member, Municipal Art Society.
  • Member, New York Academy of Sciences.
  • Member, The Athenaeum (London).

Major Buildings and Projects

(Please see awards and publications below)

Press and Awards

The zeroHouse™, an architectural prototype for net-zero human habitation, has been published in 15 countries to date, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Turkey, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, India, Chile, and Russia. It continues to win design awards for innovation, design excellence, and ecological design.

 Other 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, Dwell, Metropolis, Architectural Record, Architecture, AD, Architectural Digest, Residential Architect, Interior Design, Interiors, and Wmagazine, as well as on HGTV.

 The firm’s work is included in many anthologies of design, including Design and Construction of High-Performance Homes: Building Envelopes, Renewable Energies and Integrated Practice (Routledge, 2012), Prefab Houses, Maisons Prefabriques, Fertighauser, Prefab Huizen (Booqs, 2011), Re-Crafted (Monacelli, 2010), New Prefab Architecture(Barcelona, 2008), Coney Island : the Parachute Pavilion Competition (Princeton Architectural Press, 2007), New York 2000(Monacelli, 2006), PRAXIS (Harvard Graduate School of Design, 2005), AD Architectural Design (Wiley), The 21st Century Office(Laurence King, 2003), Big Ideas for Small Spaces (William Morrow, 2000).

AWARDS (selected)

  • 2013 Architizer+ Awards. Winner, Manhattan Micro Loft.
  • 2013 Architizer+ Awards. Special Mention, zeroHouse.
  • 2010 American Institute of Architects, Design Award—Doyle Hall.
  • 2009 American Institute of Architects, Design Award—Oasis Advertising.
  • 2008 Top 50 Young Architects, Design Directory. Wallpaper* Magazine.
  • 2007 Texas Society of Architects, Design Award—zeroHouse™.
  • 2007 New Tastemakers. House & Garden magazine.
  • 2002 PS1/MoMA, Young Architects Competition, Finalist.
  • 2002 Architectural League of New York, Emerging Voices.
  • 2001 American Institute of Architects, New York, Design AwardConcrete Media.
  • 1999 I.D. Magazine award—Hurd Studios.
  • 1998 I.D. Magazine award—Good Machine.
  • 1998 I.D. Magazine award—Funny Garbage.

EXHIBITS (selected)

  • 2012 Smithsonian Institution, Museum of American History, Washington, DC, Specht Harpman Coffee Lid Collection.
  • 2012 American Institute of Architects, New York, NY, New York Now. zeroHouse™, prairieHouse™, windCatcher™.
  • 2012 Yale School of Architecture, New Haven, CT. “Women in Architecture.”
  • 2012 Building Centre, New London Architecture, London, Global Design NYU. zeroHouse™, prairieHouse™.
  • 2012 Modern Homes, Austin, TX. D’Arcy Residence,
  • 2011 New York University, Gallatin Galleries. Global Design NYU. zeroHouse™, prairieHouse™.
  • 2011 Modern Homes. Stirratt Residence, New Canaan, CT.
  • 2009 East Austin Studio Tour, Austin, TX.
  • 2009 Open Architecture, Austin, TX.
  • 2009 Austin Children’s Museum, Austin, TX“MegaModel.”
  • 2007 University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture, Mebane Gallery, Austin, TX.“Specht Harpman: Everything Must Go!”
  • 2006 University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture, Mebane Gallery, Austin, TX. “Capsule Summary.”
  • 2006 Proteus Gowanus Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. Cabinet 19: Specht Harpman Coffee Lid Collection.
  • 2005 Van Alen Institute, New York, NY. Parachute Pavilion Competition winners.
  • 2002 PS1/MoMA, Young Architects, New York, NY and Queens, NY. Summer “warm up.”
  • 2001 Yale School of Architecture. “New Blue.”
  • 2001 Yale School of Architecture. “Yard Sale.”
  • 1997 Borough of Manhattan Community College. Governors Island Competition.
  • 1997 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Governors Island Competition.
  • 1997 United States Coast Guard, Commanding Officer’s Gallery. Governors Island Competition.
  • 1997 Van Alen Institute, Governor’s Island Competition.
  • 1997 Municipal Art Society, Considering Governor’s Island.
  • 1995 Architectural League of New York. Winner (with Michael Harshman and Alex Cohen), Envisioning East New York Competition. “Home Grown.”

Writings (selected)

  • 2012 “Elsewhere Envisioned,” Introduction for GDNYU gallery show (with Peder Anker, Mitchell Joachim), hosted by New London Architecture at the Building Centre, London.
  • 2012 “Mapping,” Introduction for gallery show, New York University, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, Gallery Five.  
  • 2012 “Mapping as a Spatial, Political and Environmental Practice,” interview with Cassim Shepard, Urban Omnibus (February 22, 2012), online.
  • 2006 “Design.Build.Texas” in Platform (Austin, TX: University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture), pp. 20-21.
  • 2005 “Inventory / Peel, Pucker, Pinch, Puncture,” (with Scott Specht) in Cabinet: A Quarterly of Art and Culture (Brooklyn, NY: Immaterial Incorporated, Fall 2005), Issue 19, pp. 10-13.
  • 2004 “On teaching your teacher,” in Constructs. (New Haven, CT: Yale School of Architecture, Fall 2004).
  • 2002 “Building a Better Can Opener,” by Scott Specht and Louise Harpman in New York Times Magazine, December 1, 2002, p. 140.
  • 1999 “Environments,” I.D. Annual Design Review, 1999 (New York, NY: Magazine Publications, L.P., July/August 1999), p.161-181.
  • 1999 “Twentieth-century American Patterns,” (with Evan Supcoff) in Harpman and Supcoff, eds., Perspecta 30, The Yale Architectural Journal. (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999).
  • 1999 Perspecta 30, The Yale Architectural Journal. Co-editor (with Evan Supcoff). (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999).
  • 1997 “Drawing the Line: Couples in Life and Work,” in Practices: Magazine of the Center for Practice, 5/6.
  • 1997 “Interview with Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown,” (with Bill Braham) in Practices: Magazine of the Center for Practice, 5/6.
  • 1996 Brooklyn Public Library Design Guidelines Brooklyn, NY. Author. (New York: City of New York and Design Trust for Public Space, Inc., 1996).
  • 1993 Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY. Christmas Card “Starfold” purchased for production and sale.

Institutional Affiliations

  • 2010-present. Associate Professor of Practice, New York University, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York, NY.
  • 2003-10. Associate Dean. University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture. Austin, TX.
  • 2003-10. Fellow, Harwell Hamilton Harris Professorship. University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture. Austin, TX.
  • 2003-09. Chair, Undergraduate Admissions Committee. University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture. Austin, TX.
  • 2009-10. Chair, Graduate Admissions Committee. Yale School of Architecture. Yale University. New Haven, CT.
  • 1994-2010. Critic in Architectural Design. Yale School of Architecture. Yale University. New Haven, CT.
  • 1995-2010. Studio Director, First Year Building Project. Yale School of Architecture. Yale University. New Haven, CT.
  • 1994-1996. Critic in Architectural Design. University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Architecture. Philadelphia, PA.