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Carol Phillips

Partner, Moriyama & Teshima Architects

Year: 2021

Carol Phillips

Partner, Moriyama & Teshima Architects

Magic Moment: My iterative and evolving journey is punctuated by moments of inspiration, decision making and purpose. There are three moments among many that I share here that relate to both life and career. The first was working and living in Barcelona as a student. Immersed in a city under transformation that was trusted to architects and artists who worked with a seemingly cohesive cultural hand, I was inspired to embrace the material presence of architecture and to trust in the power and responsibility of space and craft to profoundly shape a community’s future. The second was when I chose to return to work after maternity leave with my first son. While I adored caring for him, this decision made to honour the efforts of my parents who gave up everything to immigrate with nothing but two young girls yet gave us the gift of education. The decision was also to be true to myself and to be responsible to my duty to my new son, to raise him as a sensitive man who can understand the role of women not only as caregivers but in all our potential. And third, the realization of the U of T Multifaith Centre, my first project with my firm. The grace of its purpose to be a place of understanding and exchange between differing peoples still moves me and I remain honoured to have played a role in its creation.

Key Influence: Diarmuid Nash who trusts and believes in me and my sons who teach me to learn from youth not just experience.

Key Lesson: He teaches me to keep an open mind to possibilities, to see the value in places where it is not obvious and to learn from and be responsible to the people around me.

They show me everyday what it is to support and be there for each other. They amaze me with their strength, talents and resilience as they navigate the complexities of the world.

Next Big Challenge As An Industry: Undoubtedly the biggest challenges we need to act on immediately are the intersecting issues of social justice in a world of conscious and unconscious biases and sustainable design and construction in the climate emergency. Our industry has to see our agency and act on it, commiting to change and seeking out and voicing to our clients new and emerging needs for our collective future. Specifically some issues are the construction of clean water supply for all, increased connection to and respect for nature, affordable housing, pedestrianization of cities, provision of community amenities and inspired places of education for all communities. Architecture has a role in shaping our social infrastructure and if built with and operated with renewable materials and resources we will create demand and accelerate change to new industries that move us to a green, inclusive future.

On Championing Others… I mentor young talented architects formally through the OAA process, I sit on a number of design review panels where I have opportunity to support aspiring designs and share my knowledge and information with colleagues outside my firm to help to enable their work. I have promoted and nominate my extraordinary peers for distinction and create opportunities for the youth in my firm to grow and achieve. As a member of the BEAT Advisory I support and assist in guiding the youthful executive on worthy initiatives in the the area of equality in architecture.

One word that captures you: Committed.

Secret Talent: I have a first dan black belt in Taekwondo.