Schwarzmann was born in Munich, where he trained in engineering and graduated with high honors from the Royal Military Academy. He was commissioned a lieutenant of artillery in the Queen’s Regiment of the Bavarian Army at age eighteen, and served in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. He immigrated to the United States in 1868, becoming an assistant engineer at Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, which by then encompassed some 2,800 acres. He was subsequently appointed the park’s chief engineer, and he designed the landscape and architectural elements for the Philadelphia Zoological Gardens, which opened in the park in 1874. Having submitted a successful proposal for the Beaux-Arts Centennial Art Gallery (now Memorial Hall) that same year, he was appointed the architect-in-chief for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in West Fairmount Park, creating the 250-acre site plan and designing many of the buildings. Schwarzmann was also involved in cemetery design in the 1870s, including the initial section of the southeast parcel of Riverview Cemetery in Delaware, where he laid out the roads and burial sections on a grid plan. In 1876, he and Philadelphia architect George Pohl partnered for a short time in the firm Schwarzman & Pohl. By the following year, Schwarzmann had formed Schwarzmann & Kafka with Hugo Kafka, but quickly joined landscape gardener Edward Schwagerl in Schwagerl & Company. By 1880, Schwarzmann had moved to New York City and established the firm H. J. Schwarzmann & Company with Albert Buchman, which was renamed Schwarzmann & Buchman in 1885. Schwarzmann retired in 1888, having been named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1876. He died in New York City at the age of 45, and is buried there in Woodlawn Cemetery.