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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 book Coffee Lids: Peel, Pinch, Pucker, Puncture was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2018.  The book is an extended case study of design
thinking and includes essays on visual literacy, collecting, display, and curation. The book, co-authored with Scott Specht, features photographs and technical drawings from her collection.

The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, CNN, and NPR (among many other publications) featured interviews with Professor Harpman upon the publication of Coffee Lids. 


Professor Harpman delivered a keynote lecture in 2018 at the HET Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, in conjunction with the exhibit Finders Keepers. Her collection of Coffee Lids was featured in this international exhibition.

Professor Harpman launched her project zeromicro™ and delivered a hub lecture at the 2017 annual European Utility Week conference in Amsterdam. 

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.

Professor Harpman's students created CURRENT as part of the 2018 NYCxDESIGN festival, and Waste__World as part of the 2017 NYCxDESIGN festival.

Professors Harpman, Joachim, and Anker curated COLLAPSE at the Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre and Gallatin Galleries in 2018. This exhibit of architecture, urban design, and design research included over 40 professionals.