Esther Sperber

Esther Sperber

New York, NY, US



About Studio ST Architects

Studio ST Architects is a full-service, woman-owned, architectural firm located in Manhattan. We design residential, multifamily housing and institutional buildings including new synagogues and places of worship from the ground-up.The firm strives to combine leading technologies with evolving environmentally-friendly design and production methods, and apply these tools in creative ways.

Studio ST's new boutique-style Jones Street multifamily apartment building in Jersey City finished construction in 2022. They also recently completed a number of synagogue designs including Ansche Chesed on the Upper West Side in NY and SVAJ in Skokie, IL. Studio ST Architects have completed many institutional buildings including the renovation of the 14th Street Y in 2010 and plans for the Hudson Yard Synagogue, an $8 million renovation project in Manhattan. Their residential work spans from designing ground-up buildings to interior architecture for apartment renovations and combinations. Studio ST's new boutique-style Jones Street multifamily apartment building in Jersey City finished construction in 2022.

Studio ST’s work has been published in numerous architectural magazines and monographs in North America, the Middle East, Europe and Asia. In 2008, Studio ST was selected by Wallpaper magazine as one of the “World’s 50 Hottest Young Architectural Firms” and the Swell House was selected by Architectural Record as “Best Unbuilt House” for 2008. In July 2009 they were selected for the best 40/40 exhibition in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Esther Sperber founded Studio ST Architects in 2003 after working at Pei Partnership Architects for more than five years during which she had the privilege of working closely with Mr. I. M. Pei. She was born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel.  She graduated with a degree from the Technion and came to New York in 1997 to complete a master’s degree in architecture at Columbia University.

Esther has been writing and lecturing on architecture and psychoanalysis, two fields of praxis that strive to reduce human distress and widen the range of human experiences.


Lectures & Presentations

Building the Future Podcast
April 2023

Psychoanalysis and Culture - Book Launch
May 2021

MicroPolis Homes: Lessons Learned about Housing During the Pandemic
The Plagues Project
January 2021

Home, the Pandemic, and the Jewish Holiday of Sukkot
HINENI Podcast
September 2020

Faith in Design
Harvard GSD
March 2019

Mental Health in Architecture
Archinect Sessions
May 2018

The Poetics of Home: Between Psychological and Physical Structures
Israel Museum
February 2017

Innovation – Invited presentation
APsaA Winter Meeting 
New York, January 2016

Home and the Poetics of Space
Billie Pivnick & Esther Sperber
William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Society Colloquium Series
Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Synagogue Design
Yeshiva University
Wednesday, November 3, 2015

Ethic After Psychoanalysis
The Task of a Past
Boston, October 2015

Manifesto Fest
Psychoanalysis is Slow Therapy
Psychology and the Other conference
Boston, October 2015

Manifesto Fest
Spring Meeting of Division 39 of the American Psychological Association
San Francisco, April 2015

Synagogue Design: Gender, Collaboration and the Practice of Architecture
The Jewish Theological Seminary
New York, March 18, 2015

Making a Case for Psychoanalysis
American Psychoanalytic Association Annual Meeting, Invited Workshop
New York, January 14, 2015

Studio ST at 10: Designs and Collaborations
UMass School of ArchitectureMarch 2014

Sublimation - Building or Dwelling? Freud, Loewald and Architecture
Paper at the Loewald Memorial Conference, New York, February 2014

Design of Space for Communal Prayer 
Psychology and the Other Conference, Boston, October 2013

Kissing Disciplines - Response Dr. Lew Aron's Keynote
Psychology and the Other Conference, Boston, October 2013

Wings of Daedalus: Towards a Relational Architecture
Muriel Gardiner Program in Psychoanalysis & The Humanities at Yale, February 2013.

Relational Creativity; Architecture as a Case Study
Division 39 Spring Meeting, Santa Fe NM, April 2012

Relational Creativity, Architecture as a Case Study
AIA Santa Fe, NM, April 2012

Architectural Work with dZO
The Technion School of Architecture, Haifa Israel, 2003

Architectural Work with dZO
Betzalel Academy, Jerusalem Israel, 2003


Esther's Featured Articles on Archinect

Let's Move the Conversation From Demolition to Creating More Affordable Housing, Tue, Mar 10 '20

At the end of February, a surprising decision by a state judge revoked the approval for the top 20 floors of 200 Amsterdam Avenue, a market-rate, luxury, residential building on the Upper West Side in New York. The developers amassed air rights, using a zoning loophole to create a 39-sided ...

Let's Move the Conversation From Demolition to Creating More Affordable Housing

Op-Ed: From (EX)CITE to (IN)CITE, reflecting on Rem's Biennale, Mon, Jul 7 '14

EXCITERem Koolhaas, chief curator of the 2014 Venice Biennale, managed to excite us, again forcing us to rethink the Elements and Fundamentals of architecture. For me, this is the first time I felt a real desire to visit the show, which I have always imagined to be more like an amusement park for ...

Op-Ed: From (EX)CITE to (IN)CITE, reflecting on Rem's Biennale


Columbia University, New York, NY, US, GSAPP

May 1997 - May 1998

Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel, BArch, Architecture

Sep 1991 - Jul 1996


Best Unbuilt House - Architectural Record, Award

"Two firms create a modern appendage for a suburban home, deftly merging old and new.

A renovation and 1,000-square-foot expansion conceived for a 900-square-foot home in Highland Park, New Jersey, achieves maximum visual effect for a budget of only $400,000. Unhindered by neither a complex program nor a compelling setting, collaborating designers Studio ST Architects and Z-A took an alternative approach to suburban additions—such as contrasting old and new, borrowing the old to cover the new, or placing new inside the old.

Swell House's new volume appears like a mutated outgrowth of the existing house, a move inspired by salvaging the original footprint and roof to decrease demolition waste. The roof profile is extruded, twisting 90 degrees to create the terminus of a new volume that largely hovers on pilotis; that foundation, in turn,
maximizes water permeability on the lowland site.

The old house has been converted into a giant room devoted to public uses, while the addition is largely private. A semi-public family room links the two. Despite the double curvature of the new volume, it is made of simplified, orthogonal surfaces.

Just as the form of Swell House offers a new way for appending new architecture to an older suburban house, the architects' choice of clapboard cladding reconsiders the potential of an iconic suburban material. Besides lending a sense of intelligent humor to Swell House, the clapboard, like the deployment of pilotis, achieves several environmental objectives. On the eastern elevation of the new volume, for example, planks are set vertically above the existing structure to act as bris soleil for the family room. Moreover, on the morphed roof structure above the existing house, planks are set perpendicularly and draped over the existing vertical structure to create a double skin, which
insulates during winter and permits a cooling stacking effect to take place in warmer weather.


Areas of Specialization