Professor Philip Thalis

Philip Thalis is a founding principal of Hill Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects. The practice is recognised for its independent standpoint, winning more than 100 professional awards, commendations and competitions for architectural, urban, public space and heritage adaptation projects including the Sir John Overall Award for Urban Design (2020, 2017), the Canberra Medallion (2017), the Frederick Romberg Award for Residential Architecture (2020), the Blacket Prize for Regional Architecture (2020), the Walter Burley Griffin Award for Urban Design (2010) and the Aaron Bolot Award for Multiple Housing (2020, 2015). Major competition winning projects include the Sydney Olympic Village in 1992, East Darling Harbour (now Barangaroo) in 2006 and the Kingsford to Kensington (K2K) Competition in 2015. Collaborative projects have also received Planning Institute, Landscape Architecture Institute and Good Design Australia awards.

Philip actively promotes the culture of architecture and city making beyond the profession, combining practice with public lectures, teaching, research, and architectural criticism. Since 2007 he has been a Professor of Practice in Architecture at UNSW and has lectured extensively at many Australian universities, with a particular research focus on the history of Sydney’s architecture and urban housing, and the architecture of the city more broadly. His book Public Sydney; Drawing the City (co-authored with Peter John Cantrill) examined successive transformation of the city’s public places and major public buildings.

From 2016 to 2021, Philip served as a Councillor of the City of Sydney as part of the Clover Moore Independent Team. During this period he advanced a progressive agenda for public transport, cycling and pedestrian amenity in the city, and he promoted public and affordable housing. With Councillor Jess Scully, he launched the City’s Alternative Affordable Housing Demonstration project. As a member of the Central Sydney Planning Committee, he advocated strongly for design quality in significant developments and strategic policies. He continues to represent the Lord Mayor of Sydney on the Anzac Memorial Trust.

Professional appointments include AIA representative on the Heritage Council of NSW, joining the Urban Design Advisory Council, and serving for nine years as Trustee of the Historic Houses Trust of NSW. He has been recognised by his colleagues in the Institute of Architects, receiving the AIA President’s award (jointly with Peter John Cantrill) in 2009, and his elevation to a Life Fellow of the Institute in 2019.

Philip has supported community campaigns to protect the equity, diversity and architecture of the city, working with groups to save the Walsh Bay and Woolloomooloo wharves and to oppose the sale of the Bridge Street sandstone grouping, the eviction of public housing tenants and sale of public housing in Millers Point, and the failings of the development-led approach to city making more generally. He contributes to public debate through interviews on Sydney radio, written contributions to local news media, and also engages with a diverse audience on social media to promote architecture and the public interest in Sydney.

Prior to starting Hill Thalis, Philip undertook a Masters in Urban Architecture (CEAA) at the Paris Belleville School of Architecture, while working with leading French architects Chemetov + Huidbro and Yves Lion.