Louise Harpman
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Specht Harpman

Louise Harpman is a partner at Specht Harpman, an architecture and design firm with offices in New York City and Austin, Texas. She maintains a commitment to practice and teaching and is currently serving as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is also the Harwell Hamilton Professor of Architecture. Before joining the UT faculty, she taught for eight years at the Yale School of Architecture and for four years at the University of Pennsylvania.

Louise Harpman received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University, where she concentrated in East Asian Studies. She holds a Master of Philosophy degree from Cambridge University and received her Master of Architecture degree from Yale University. She is the co-editor of Perspecta 30:Settlement Patterns (1999). She is the author of the Brooklyn Public Library Design Guidelines and was a founding member (ex officio) of the Board of Directors of the Design Trust for Public Space.

Personal Statement

I was awarded a Design Trust fellowship for the Brooklyn Public Library Design Guidelines project just as we were beginning to build our private practice. During the research phase, I was able to arrange a series of panel discussions and work session with national experts on library design. I was educating myself (clearly) but also the public administrators who would have responsibility for introducing these new ideas, criteria, and procedures. Through the process of researching and writing the Design Guidelines, I got a good feel for how “best practices” are both incredibly difficult and absolutely necessary to implement. At the end of the process, I forged professional relationships with leaders in the field of library design and senior administrators in the City of New York, as well as gained a significant degree of expertise in library design. Building on my project background with the Design Trust and Brooklyn Public Library, I am currently working on the design of a new public library with my University of Texas students. 

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