Brendan Coburn Headshot

Brendan Coburn, FAIA


Brendan Coburn founded the Brooklyn Studio in 1997. Over the last twenty-five years, he has grown the firm from a one-person shop to an award-winning studio of more than thirty architects, interior designers, and creatives who work across a variety of building types throughout the Northeast. Before founding The Brooklyn Studio, Brendan worked for Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Rafael Viñoly Architects, and Kallmann McKinnell & Wood.

Brendan’s diverse body of work includes historic preservation and rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, new construction, single and multifamily developments, and cultural institutions. He has extensive experience working in New York City’s historic districts, and his approach to architecture is characterized by a deep reverence for the historic fabric of the city.

In 2020, Brendan was elected to the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows, the AIA’s highest membership honor. He serves on the boards of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy; the Historic Districts Council; and the Brooklyn Central YMCA, where he is the chair of the buildings committee. Brendan holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia and a Master of Architecture from Yale University.

The Proust Questionnaire

Taking inspiration from a popular nineteenth-century parlor game, we sat down with each member of our team and asked them a few questions about their inspirations and aspirations.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Sitting with my wife in front of the fireplace in our living room on a Sunday afternoon. Preferably with a book.

What is your greatest fear?


What is your greatest extravagance?

Nice hotels and expensive dinners.

What talent would you most like to have?

I wouldn’t mind being a better oil painter. Actually, I wouldn’t mind being an oil painter.

What is your favorite color?

Navy blue.

What is your favorite virtue?


Which living architect or designer do you most admire?

Rick Joy.

Which dead architect or designer do you most admire?

Louis Kahn and Andrea Palladio.

What is the trait that you most appreciate in a building?


What is your favorite type of project to work on?

I enjoy projects that incorporate both rehabilitation and new construction. I find it very satisfying to combine traditional and modern designs.

Who is your favorite author?

John Steinbeck.

Who is your hero of fiction?

Sister Carrie.

Who is your favorite artist?

Wayne Thiebaud.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Richard Upjohn.

What is your most treasured possession?

My grandfather’s drafting instruments.

Where would you like to live?

I’d like to split my time between Brooklyn and Vicenza. And maybe Copenhagen. I also love London.

What quality do you most admire in others?


Stranded on a desert island, you have two books in your possession. What are they?

De achitectura by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, and The Decoration of Houses by Edith Wharton.