I was saddened to lose Philip Durham last week. I had the honor of selling one of his commissions, 2 Winding Brook, and really appreciated his work. He referred clients to me who were interested in buying contemporary houses and I referred business to him. Philip was straightforward and created exceptional designs. I always dreamt of having him build me a little contemporary home on top of a hill at our farm.
Philip Durham of St Louis, Missouri died peacefully on Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at his home in Soulard. Philip was born in Providence Rhode Island in 1961, he was 57 years old. Philip spent his early years living on Long Island and upstate New York, where his father served in a church as an ordained American Baptist minister and his mother, a classically trained music instructor, taught music and piano lessons. He was educated at Washington University in St. Louis where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1983 and a Master’s in Architecture in 1985. After graduation he worked seven years as a project designer for HOK in St Louis, working on a variety on commercial project types throughout the United States, Mexico and Europe.
He founded Studio|Durham Architects, a small design-oriented practice, that has completed projects in ten states from the Midwest to the East Coast. His works range from architectural to interior design to the design of custom furniture. His projects have been featured in design books and monographs nationally and internationally. Philip was the recipient of more than forty design awards at the national, regional and local levels.
The work of architect Philip can be found all over the St. Louis area, from Citygarden and William Shearburn Gallery in the city to Bethany Place in Belleville. In 2016, he was named to the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows in the design category—a prestigious honor shared by just six other architects locally. “In the design category, you have to submit your entire life’s work—every time you’ve been published, every design award, and then six featured projects,” says Durham. “It’s not something I ever anticipated getting.” According to the AIA’s website, the fellowship “not only recognizes the achievements of architects as individuals, but also their significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level.” Of the AIA’s 88,000 members, some 3,200 have received the honor.
He displayed a commitment to the community through work with non-profit organizations, including Bethany Place, provider of social services for people with AIDS; Habit for Humanity St. Louis, planning a forty-five house build and drawing the first eighteen houses; Corner Science Stores, a startup provider of math and science education in disadvantaged neighborhoods; numerous church groups; the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts; and the Gateway Foundation, for which he completed Citygarden and where Philip served as an active member of the Board of Directors.