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Louise Harpman

Associate Professor
(212) 992-6810
1 Wash Pl, Room 607

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A.B. East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1987
M.Phil. Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, 1988
M.Arch. Architecture, Yale University, 1993

Louise Harpman is the founder and principal of Louise Harpman__PROJECTS whose work focuses on architectural design, design research, and urban design. Her website is Before founding PROJECTS, Louise Harpman was a principal for 20 years in the architecture and design firm Specht Harpman. 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.” The firm received multiple Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects and was named “Emerging Voices” by the Architectural League of New York. The firm's designs were featured at the Museum of Modern Art, the Municipal Art Society, the Van Alen Institute, and in gallery shows in the US and UK. Specht Harpman was named “Tastemakers” by House and Garden magazine and was frequently listed as one of New York City’s “Top 100” architects by New York magazine. Specht Harpman designed and developed the zeroHouse™, a high-performance, off-the-grid micro dwelling, as well as the Manhattan Micro Loft. Both projects established Specht Harpman as international design leaders in the micro dwelling movement. The zeroHouse™ and Manhattan Micro Loft were published in over 50 international books and magazines, including the cover of The New York Times, in Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, Wired, and on Bloomberg News television. The work of the was featured in many leading professional and popular journals, including The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, New York, Architectural Record, Architecture, AD, Architectural Digest, Praxis, Interior Design, Residential Architect, Metropolis, Domus, Texas Architect, and W Magazine, as well as on HGTV. Over two decades Specht Harpman gained significant international recognition and their work was published on every continent except Antarctica. Louise Harpman has been a full-time Gallatin faculty member since 2010 and is an associated faculty member in the Department of Environmental Studies and at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She is a member of the Faculty Advisory Committee at NYU's Marron Institute of Urban Management. Her teaching career began in 1995 and she has taught at the Yale School of Architecture, the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Architecture and Planning. At Gallatin, she teaches an undergraduate Architecture and Urban Design LAB course, an interdisciplinary seminar called Good Design, and an arts workshop on Mapping and Data Visualization. She teaches graduate courses in urban design at the Wagner School. Harpman is co-author of Global Design: Elsewhere Envisioned (Prestel, 2014), with Gallatin professors Peder Anker and Mitchell Joachim. She is the co-editor of Perspecta 30: Settlement Patterns (MIT Press, 1999), with Evan Supcoff, in addition to many popular and academic articles. She is a co-founder of Global Design NYU, which advances design innovation and environmentalism.

Teaching and Research Interests

architecture; landscape architecture; urban design; infrastructure; sustainability; environmental design; transportation; housing; net zero energy buildings; micro dwelling; mapping

Louise Harpman

Recent News


Professor Louise Harpman's Peel, Pinch, Pucker, Puncture: The World's Largest Collection of Coffee Lids, is forthcoming from Princeton Architectural Press and will include scholarly and popular essays about visual literacy, collecting, display, and curation and feature photographs and technical drawings from her collection.

In February 2016, Peder Anker, Louise Harpman, and Mitchell Joachim, through Global Design NYU, convened ENVISION: Nature and Design, a dialogue between disparate researchers within the Gallatin community, aimed at broadening the horizons on the meanings of Nature and Design.


Louise Harpman delivered the talk “Size Does Matter” to the Sheffield University School of Architecture in Sheffield, UK, in February 2016.

Professor Harpman delivered a TEDx talk about micro housing at Amherst University in April 2015.


Four of Professor Harpman's trademark applications relating to her ZeroMicro projects have been approved by the US Patent Trade Office.

Her coffee lid collection was exhibited at the MMuseumm in New York, New York, in April 2015. In March 2015, she attended and delivered a paper at the Gallatin faculty symposium The Material Archive, held in Florence, Italy.

In December 2015, Along with Keith Miller, Stephen Duncombe, Mitchell Joachim, and Peder Anker, Louise Harpman produced the video Climate Change Deal Now in support of the 2015 COP 21 climate talks in Paris.


2018 Spring

Architecture and Urban Design Lab

2018 Fall

Good Design: Objects, Bodies, Buildings, Cities

2017 Spring

Architecture and Urban Design Lab II

2016 Spring

Architecture and Urban Design Lab II

2016 Fall

Good Design: Scale