Margaret Helfand

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Margaret Helfand (June 26, 1947 – June 20, 2007) was a Manhattan-based New York architect and urban planner who served as president of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Early life

Helfand was born in Pasadena, California. She received her B.A. at Swarthmore College and M.Arch from University of California - Berkeley.


Margaret Helfand was a Manhattan architect and urban planner who has been recognized worldwide for her innovative approach to design of institutional buildings, interiors, and college campuses. Her designs emphasize clean elemental forms, the use of natural materials and the integration of her buildings with the surrounding landscape. Ms. Helfand spent the bulk of her career practicing at her own firm, Helfand Architecture, founded in 1981. Breaking through gender typecasting which often relegates female architects to designing houses and interiors, she executed many large-scale institutional and commercial works. Her firm's designs won many awards and her work is honored in a monograph published in 1999 by Monacelli Press.

Ms. Helfand was elected to the College of Fellows by the American Institute of Architects in 1998. She was recipient of the 2002 Rome Prize in Architecture. She helped create the Center for Architecture, a hub for exhibitions in the field and the home of the New York chapter of the institute. She was a co-chairman of New York New Visions, a civic group that advised government agencies on urban design and planning guidelines for the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan after the destruction of the World Trade Center.


She died in New York City, New York, six days before her 60th birthday, in 2007 from complications of colon cancer.

External links

  • New York Times: Margaret Helfand, Architect, Dies at 59
  • Architectural Record: Margaret Helfand, Noted Female Architect, Dies at 59

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