Who We Are

River Architects based in Cold Spring, NY, is a bold architecture and design studio led by Juhee Lee-Hartford & James Hartford. Informed by a global perspective and nuanced with a local sensibility, the practice's work ranges in scale from large public projects to intimate private, environmentally smart Passive Houses. By telling a story with every form and revealing the fun in every function, the studio aims to create intelligent architecture that delights its inhabitants.

In addition to our focus on Passive House and Net Zero Architecture, River Architects is committed to achieving environmental sustainability through our own actions. We have renovated our studio to earn PHIUS certification and we're now pursuing Green Business Partnership Certification. Our goal is to reduce our carbon footprint and promote environmental stewardship through:

  • Green Purchasing

  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction

  • Energy Efficiency (Solar & Passive House)

  • Waste Reduction

Juhee Lee- Hartford


Juhee is the managing and founding partner of River Architects. She is an advocate of progressive, contemporary architecture with great respect for the past. She particularly enjoys bringing out the individuality of each project influenced by the unique personalities of her clients and the parameters of the projects.

Her motto is to revel in architecture and pursue “Greater than Life” projects.  Juhee’s passion to learn about Korean Architecture has led her to travel through South Korea on a Fulbright Fellowship and Graham Foundation grant.

Education, Research & Certification:

Bachelor of Architecture
Pratt Institute

Fulbright Fellowship
South Korea                 

Graham Foundation Grant

MacDowell Colony
Artist Residency

Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC)

Registered Architect

Favorite Structure:
Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain

Favorite train station: 
City Hall Station in NYC back in 1904 +
today’s “Underbelly Project” murals

Favorite house in a book:
Berenstain Bears Tree House

About-James Hartford, AIA, LEED AP.jpg

James Hartford


James joined River Architects in May of 2005 to bring his building envelope knowledge and construction experience to the firm. Along with his strong technical skills, he brings sharp, creativity to the office.  He drives River Architects beyond the realm of architecture.  He pushes the firm to become the main source of big, bold ideas.

In 2011, James joined the Hudson Highland Land Trust board of directors, which is in line with his passion for sustainable and environmentally sensitive design. He is also the President for the Little Stony Point Park, Cold Spring, New York.

He has brought the invaluable passion for Passive House design to our office. Visit our Passive House Info page to learn more.


Education, Research & Certification: 

Master of Architecture 
University of Buffalo

Bachelor of English & Fine Arts
University at Albany 

Certified Passisve House Consultant (CPHC)

Registered Architect

Study Abroad:
Germany & England

Museum I would happily live in:
Noguchi Museum, NY

Favorite Building:
Ronchamp Cathedral

Memorable Lego creation:
Brunelleschi’s Duomo

Favorite house in a Movie:
Kusakabe’s house in Totoro movie