Helpern Architects

David Helpern, FAIA

If you want to hear David Helpern speak about hotel design, click here for a very short video. The story of how this video came about – including how Marriott developed its campaign to use cap-D Design to brand its new AC flag – is here.

Both architect and planner, David Helpern founded Helpern Architects in 1971 to provide educational institutions at all levels with exceptional campuses and buildings. Over the years, the practice has grown steadily to serve not only prominent educational and faith-based organizations, but also a range of hospitality and corporate clients. Under David’s leadership, Helpern Architects has executed over 4,300 projects.

At the beginning of his career, David served as one of I.M. Pei & Partners’ youngest project leaders with a billion-sq-ft project in Paris as his last assignment. Today, he enjoys a reputation as a “professional’s professional” – someone with exceptional standards for his own work and that of his experienced staff. A hands-on principal, David cultivates close relationships with his clients – many of them for decades.

David was one of the first architects in New York to promote building technology alongside building design and master planning – a critical grouping of services for new structures, restorations, and additions alike.

David’s ability to help clients decide whether and what property to purchase or update has become a major service. To do this entails scoping out client intentions and resources versus what is physically available and possible to achieve within a timeframe and budget.

In 1993, David was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects on the strength of his work on existing institutional structures. He had surveyed the prevalent deterioration of America’s college and university buildings and advocated ways to restore, revitalize, and use them for new purposes. Conducted under the auspices of the Society for College & University Planning, his pioneering research earned front-page coverage in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and brought him an invitation to testify before a Congressional Committee.

In recognition of his understanding of building design and building conditions, the US General Services Administration appointed David to the National Register of Peer Professionals in its Design Excellence Program.

David served for nine years on the Brown University President’s Leadership Council, a select international advisory group. He has been reappointed three times to Manhattan’s Community Board 8 (on the city’s Upper East Side, where he has designed and renovated many buildings). He co-chairs CB8’s Landmarks Committee and serves on its Land-Use Committee.

David holds a BA from Brown University and a Masters of Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. LEED-accredited by the US Green Building Council, he is licensed to practice architecture in 13 states.