Ms Catherine Phillips

I studied Architecture at Manchester University, the Bartlett, UCL, and University of Navarra, Pamplona. I also studied a Fine Art MA at City and Guilds of London Art School. I have over 30 years experience in architectural practice, mainly in residential work.

I was co-director of MPH Architects (2006-2022) with Matthew Barnett Howland, and currently work as a sole practitioner, mainly on refurbishment projects. I am also a practicing artist, represented by Eames Fine Art.

I was  the co-director of MPH Architects (2006-2022) with Matthew Barnett Howland. In 2015 the practice was awarded a grant from Innovate UK for research into Building Whole Life Performance. This resulted in three years of research into the structural use of cork, led by Matthew Barnett Howland, and involving other research partners including UCL, Arup Associates and Bath University. Designed and built with the knowledge gained in the research, including extensive performance testing at the BRE, the Cork House, Eton, was short-listed for the Stirling Prize, and won several awards in 2019, including the Stephen Lawrence Prize, Gold Wood Award, and the Manser Medal.

 In my recent design practice as Catherine Phillips Architect, I have  been working on the adaptive reuse of a 1935 Venetian Vaporetto passenger ferry. This involved a radical transformation of the interior, to be re-purposed as a dwelling. I am also working on a photographic project about a limestone quarry in Provence, observed over a thirty-year period. 

In 2022 I wrote a thesis about the work of the late modernist British architect, Harley Sherlock, who trained at the Architectural Association in the post-war period. As well as being a practising architect, he was an urban theorist. The focus of the study was on low-rise, high density housing projects – a model that is now considered to be optimal for sustainability. I am currently taking this research further.


  • Design Practices
  • Architectural Humanities

In brief

Research areas

Modernist approaches to design in relation to landscape and topography, Use of underlying geometry in modernism, Refurbishment of modernist housing and Post-war low-rise high density housing