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Louise Harpman

(212) 992-6810
607 - 1 Wash Pl

Office Hours
Tuesday By Appt
Friday 9:00-11:00

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 an architect and urban designer whose courses focus on design, design thinking, and interdisciplinary multi-scalar design practices. Her scholarship includes a broad portfolio of built work, design prototypes, urban design, and artistic activism. Harpman is a full-time Gallatin faculty member, an associated faculty member at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, a faculty affiliate at the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, and a member of the Faculty Advisory Committee at the Marron Institute of Urban Management.

Harpman is co-author of Coffee Lids (Princeton Architectural Press, 2018) with Scott Specht; Global Design: Elsewhere Envisioned (Prestel, 2014) with Peder Anker and Mitchell Joachim; and co-editor of Perspecta 30: Settlement Patterns (MIT Press, 1999) with Evan Supcoff. She is a co-founder of Global Design NYU, which advances innovation in architecture, urbanism, and ecological planning.

Harpman is the founder and principal of Louise Harpman__PROJECTS whose work focuses on architectural design, design research, and urban design. Her website is She also directs the zeromicroª Applied Research Consortium through which she holds trademarks in related zeromicroª design applications

Before founding PROJECTS, 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, and the Van Alen Institute. 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 zeroHouseª, 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 work of the firm was featured in many leading professional and popular journals, including The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Fast Company, New York, Architectural Record, Architecture, AD, Architectural Digest, Interior Design, Residential Architect, Metropolis, Domus, and W Magazine, as well as on Bloomberg News and HGTV. Over two decades Specht Harpman gained significant international recognition and their work was published on every continent except Antarctica.

Performances, Productions, Exhibitions & Releases



Louise Harpman lead her annual BIG WALK 2023 | BROOKLYN'S WORKING WATERFRONT.  The BIG WALK is a signature event at Gallatin that Harpman has directed and produced since 2011 and forms a key part of her scholarship profile.



Coffee Lids: Peel, Pinch, Pucker, Puncture

Scott Specht and Louise Harpman's Coffee Lids: Peel, Pinch, Pucker, Puncture was published by Princeton Architectural Press.


Global Design: Elsewhere Envisioned

Peder Anker, Louise Harpman, and Mitchell Joachim's Global Design: Elsewhere Envisioned was published by Prestel.

Teaching and Research Interests

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

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. 


Harpman was the moderator for "Off the Rails: Megadevelopment and the Future of the City," sponsored by NYU and Gallatin's Urban Democracy Lab as part of Archtobober 2019, an collaboration between the Center for Architecture and UN-Habitat’s Urban October.

Harpman was a featured speaker at a live digital conversation entitled "Student and Emerging Design” hosted by NYCxDESIGN in April 2020.

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.

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


Harpman served as the Founding Director and Curator of the Architecture Graduates Showcase at NYCxDESIGN, New York City’s premier design festival hosted virtually in May 2020.

Harpman served as co-Director and co-Producer of the Gallatin Graduation 2020 video.

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