Brian Phillips is founding principal of Interface Studio Architects (ISA), an award-winning firm specializing in multi-family residential and urban projects that employ green strategies. ISA has been identified by The Philadelphia Inquirer as one of several "rising design firms that see architecture as a weapon in the battle to stave off environmental ruin." Phillips earned a BS in environmental design from the University of Oklahoma in 1994 and an MA in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996. His 100K Houses project, which involves finding high-performance and innovative strategies for designing and building sustainable homes for $100,000 each, won a 2011 National Housing Award from the American Institute of Architects. He also received a Pew Fellowship in the Arts that same year. "In light of recent environmental and economic crises, there is a real urgency for designers to take on the profound challenges of the present," says Phillips. "I believe that creativity and innovation are amplified by limitations. I believe in the necessity for architecture to be broad and inclusive, while retaining a sense of precision and a deep understanding of local context." In 2016, Phillips received a Center Project grant for Rowhouse Workshop, an exploration of the physical and social histories embedded in Philadelphia's long history of row house development.
Architect and Pew Fellow Brian Phillips will survey the physical and social histories embedded in the row houses of Philadelphia. The effort will provide a new set of stories, data, and reflections aimed at inspiring the public to engage more deeply with the urban fabric of the city. Phillips will undertake an exploration of the major differences and subtle variations within row house design across five Philadelphia neighborhoods and historical timeframes of row house development. A website and an exhibition at Crane Arts will chart Philadelphia row house trends over the last two centuries through a multimedia display that interprets and catalogs the various neighborhoods and homes researched. The exhibition will feature architectural drawings, photographs, and audio recordings organized geographically on a room-sized map of Philadelphia to illustrate trends, anomalies, and commonalities among blocks and houses. Audiences will be encouraged to manipulate the various exhibition components, including physical models of Phillips' researched houses, to inspire future thinking about the trajectory of the row house and urban design.
*Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.*