Steve Phillips

Partner, BA(Hons) IntArch MA DipArch RIBA HKICON (Assoc.)

Steve is a Partner at Purcell and studio lead in our Hong Kong office.  He describes himself as ‘wearing many hats’, an inherent quality needed to successfully lead our Hong Kong studio.   

Having completed his architectural training in the UK, he has over 20 years working experience, with the last 10 years being based in Hong Kong. Having sat on various  working groups within the practice including the Purcell Voice, our employee forum, Steve has been a key voice in raising the profile of our Hong Kong studio both internally and externally. With environmentally responsible architecture being a constant throughout his career, both on projects, as well as in striving to run a low carbon studio, he is also member of the company sustainability group.

"Under new company stewardship, the direction is clear. We must all embrace and embed environmentally conscious thinking within the culture of our working practice, through its people, and our projects.’"

Projects in Hong Kong and the Southeast Asia region are notable for their diversity which is a key characteristic of Purcell’s and Steve’s own portfolio. Heritage-led work whilst remaining a constant, is balanced by his interest in masterplanning and architectural commissions across sectors including cultural and hospitality. A key feature of his project pasts and present, is their meaningful and impactful nature on the users and communities who have a connection to the place – something he finds incredibly empowering.  

Since taking over the Hong Kong studio management in 2020, his pragmatic and collaborative nature enables him to balance the day-to-day needs of business and people management, with securing new business, and supporting the team around him to deliver feasibility studies, impact assessments, conservation plans, technical packages, and construction works. 

Originally looking at training to become a landscape architect, travel and exposure to different cityscapes eventually led Steve to study architecture, something he feels requires a balance of being introverted and extroverted, methodical, and environmentally responsible – much like his approach to architecture. 

‘"It’s a really critical point in history where we are facing unprecedented challenges, particularly in the wake of climate change, that we are needing to think about our projects differently. How we go about specifying things that might have worked before might now face different challenges.’"

Outside of Purcell, Steve is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the renowned University of Hong Kong where he lecturers on MSc Conservation modules, ‘Conservation and Assessment techniques’ and ‘Materials and technologies in conservation’. His work at Purcell provides an excellent foundation to engage and share practical working experience with the next generation of architectural conservationists.

He also contributes to articles for publications such as Zolima and more recently the South China Morning Post, discussing heritage centric topics which tie to his interest in writing thought leadership and opinion pieces for Purcell. This external communication focus is rooted in his desire to give back and to share knowledge and insights with others. 

Steve Phillips is an Associate Partner at Purcell and leads the practice’s Hong Kong studio.