Graham Phillips studied architecture at Liverpool University. He received a national RIBA Award for the best Part 1 work and spent his year out working in Toronto, Canada. He graduated with First Class Honours in 1971 and is a member of the RIBA. He is a member of the Hong Kong institute of architects HKIA, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts FRSA.
In 1975 he joined Foster + Partners taking charge of IBM Technical Park and developing special skills in the field of project management, cost control and contract administration. From its inception in 1979, he was involved in the Hong Kong Bank project and he played a key management role for that project as resident director. He also became a member of the HKIA and qualified as an Authorised Person during this time.
On his return to London in 1986 he became involved in the overall management of the practice as well as the design of projects for Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury at the University of East Anglia. He was made a partner in 1991 and returned to Hong Kong as part of the design team for Chek Lap Kok Airport. On his return in 1993 he continued as managing director of the practice overseeing its worldwide business and management aspects and maintaining the practice’s highest design standards becoming Chief Executive Officer of the worldwide practice.
He designed and built his own RIBA award-winning house, Skywood, which was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Foundation Award in 2000. Set in a large wooded walled garden Skywood fulfils the aspiration for a ‘glass box in the woods’ - dematerialising the relationship between outside and inside. This included an exploration of the landscape, with water as a major element. Its walls extend into the landscape, their pure white forms framing the two rectangular glass enclosures of the living accommodation.
Now considered a modern Icon the house is continuously used for film and photo shoots, and became known as the Va-Va-Voom house following the making of the Renault car advert with Thierry Henri.
In March 2008 he was awarded the prestigious Catedra de Luis Barragan professorship for 2008 by the University of Monterrey in Mexico, Queretaro Campus.
Numerous magazines articles and books have published Skywood House. and currently the publishers Thames and Hudsonare preparing a book on his work.
In May of 2008 he retired from Foster + Partners to pursue his own projects and teaching interests. He has completed a series of his own projects including a rooftop development in Sandbanks UK and a cliff top house in Mallorca Spain.
A book on his work, Skywood House and the Architecture of Graham Phillips was published by Thames and Hudson in 2013.
He is the mentor and design advisor to a young architectural practice Astudio founded by one of Foster and partners most talented designers. Astudio are developing a reputation for world class projects with a strong emphasis on research and sustainable design.