Yale University

In Memoriam

Howard "Phil" Phillips

Howard "Phil" Phillips
1964 graduation

Phil Phillips was remembered at a Memorial Service in Battell Chapel on June 5, 2009 during our 45th reunion. Below are:

Memorial Service reading

by Angus Macdonald, '64

Howard Frank Phillips, known as "Phil," was my roommate at Saybrook College in 1964 and classmate during our years at the Yale School of Architecture. We were chums and laughing partners; he was my friend, my confidant, my design partner, often an inspiring one, during the transition from undergraduate to professional studies. Phil and I shared a common goal and perception.

We both loved architecture. By which I mean the thought of becoming an architect, a designer of inhabited spaces, a form giver, in a sense a sculptor. And when I say "loved," we saw architecture as a lover would see his lady: sensual, enticing, divine, perfect, unattainable in her perfection but constantly alluring. We idealized becoming an architect to be heroic and noble. During our joint passage through the School of Architecture we learned to collaborate and the value of sharing our ideas and experiences.

Our first venture together was to decorate our room. This suite was to be architectural! We had planter boxes and foam mattresses with pillows placed around the living room instead of furniture, so our living room was a forest of small trees and soft seating. We each had our own bedroom. This was lucky, because although we shared a passion and common goals, our personal tastes were quite different. Phil loved heat, and I loved the windows open. I got my way in the living room because the plants needed fresh air, and during winter, Phil had to duck to his overheated bedroom through a blast of cold and snow that blew in if I forgot to close the windows.

The crowning jewel of our interior design was a Corinthian pilaster capital which was left over from the demolition an old building facing the New Haven Green. The pilaster was a flat fluted facing to the building's facade, and so its capital, carved with petals and flowers, was of thin stone, a very beautiful leftover, about waist high, and square. We "borrowed" a hand dolly from Yale maintenance and proceeded one evening to transfer this architectural fragment to our room. Unless you have rolled by hand an 800 to 1000 pound stone from downtown New Haven to Saybrook College, you wouldn't guess that Yale was actually built on a hill. The poor old dolly, creaking and progressively deformed by its load, finally made it to our threshold after about 2 hours. We were totally bushed! Thankful for being on the ground floor, we set the pilaster capital down; the floor creaked at the other side of the room, our first inkling of structural restraints.

Phil and I were lucky to participate in Yale's first year of the architectural honors program, allowing undergraduates to enter the design studios of the Yale School of Architecture during their senior year. Phil ardently approached the studio exercises with humor. He was a wonderful dynamic laughing spirit. When we were to design a hotel, he named his project "The No-Tell Motel." In the days before computer drafting we spent countless hours hand rendering our drawings, and Phil developed a hatching method he could perform with swift vertical strokes that we called "Phillips Grass." I still use Phillips Grass in my perspectives.

At the end of the senior year, although we were high-flying in our first year architectural design studios, we also had regular Yale undergraduate courses to complete. Phil had the habit of staying up late and sleeping late, whereas I rose early. So he begged me to wake him up for a dreaded 8:00 AM final exam. I said, "But, Phil, you know nothing wakes you up!" He had the ability to snooze through prodding, yelling, or kicking the mattress (it was on the floor, remember, no furniture). I unwillingly undertook the wake-up task, fearing failure. And true to form, he would not wake up for anything the next morning. So I finally poured a bucket of cold water on him, the bucket another donation from maintenance, and he jumped up so angry that we fought for the first time! Filled with adrenalin from this, he passed his final, and we both graduated to attend the Yale School of Architecture.

He was a fine and loyal friend; I miss him and will always remember him.



Howard F. Philips, AIA, of Guilford, July 13

New Haven Register
August 2007 

Phil was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on October 18, 1941.  He attended Yale University with full scholarships as a Victor Wilson scholar and received a Bachelor of Arts with Honors with Exceptional Distinction from Yale University in 1964.  He was awarded a Master of Architecture from Yale University in 1967. 

Phil was an Associate in the Architectural firm S/L/A/M Collaborative.  Phil began his architectural career with Bruce P. Arneill Architects in New Haven CT in 1967. With S/L/A/M, he designed and collaborated on new and renovation projects for over 25 hospitals and medical facilities, including Greenwich Hospital, Griffin Hospital, Windham Hospital, and Englewood Hospital. 

Projects he designed or been a collaborator on have been published in Architectural Record, Progressive Architecture, Modern Healthcare, and other magazines.  His work has won several prestigious design awards.  He was a recognized pioneer in alternative energy design in Connecticut from 1971 to 1980, designed groundbreaking projects and participated in major federal grants for design and construction of alternate energy demonstration systems.  He designed and constructed custom residences in Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts, a solar townhouse demonstration project in New Haven, and elderly housing complexes in Connecticut and Maine.  Phil was a Founding Member of American College of Healthcare Architects, as well as an active member of New Haven Sportsman's Club.

His wife of 29 years, Meg Kelley, invites you to a memorial at the Madison Arts Cinema at 10:00 AM Sunday, August 26, 2007. Gifts in his memory may be made to the Yale School of Architecture Scholarship Fund, c/o Yale School of Architecture Dean's Office, P.O. Box 208242, New Haven, CT 06520-8242.