Born in Chicago in 1948, Marty Spiegel traveled throughout the U.S., South America, and Europe as a child. He studied Forestry, Education and Design at Marlboro College in 1966, and during the Vietnam War was granted Conscientious Objector status, performing alternate service from 1969-72 as a teacher for Project Learn's Parkway program in Philadelphia. In 1973, Spiegel moved to New York City to study Environmental Design at Parsons. He earned his BFA in 1976.
At Parsons, Spiegel formed a web of friendships, connections and partnerships that would sustain his creative and professional life for more than a decade after he graduated. Parsons professor Jean McClintock connected him with projects around New York City, including Betsy Barlow's Central Park Conservancy and a traffic-flow project with Fred Kent, who later founded Project for Public Spaces. In 1980, after four years at Solar-En Corporation designing and installing solar energy systems, he joined his former Parsons instructor, Archie Kaplan, at Environment Planning, Inc. From 1984-1986, Spiegel ran a consulting business and worked on a wide variety of projects, including the design of a N.A.S.A. space station with Michael Kalil, who he'd first met through his Parsons network.
From 1986-93, Spiegel and fellow-Parsons graduate Joey Horton were partners in a design firm.
In 1993, Spiegel moved to Seattle and opened a hardware business that he has been running since then, while sustaining an engagement with community planning and maintaining an abiding interest in design education and practice.
Marty Spiegel student workRadical Shifts: Reshaping the Interior at Parsons (1955-1985) oral history projectMichael Kalil Oral History Project