Architect and alumnus Phil Durham sketching a design in his studio.
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Section & Detail: The Work of Phil Durham

This exhibition highlighted Washington University Libraries’ recently acquired Phil Durham collection and recognized an alumnus and his contributions to local architecture and design. The exhibition consisted of large architectural models, drawings, books, and photographs. This exhibition was organized by Miranda Rectenwald, local history curator for Washington University Libraries.

Thanks to the generous donation of Hali Durham, the Phil Durham Architecture Collection is now preserved at the Washington University Libraries Julian Edison Department of Special Collections. More than 100 boxes of files, 300 tubes of drawings, and 60 models are being cataloged and indexed for use by students, scholars, and researchers.

Featured projects include conceptual projects from his time as a student at Washington University School of Architecture, 1979 –1985, Sierra Point Hotel, Brisbane, California, 1990; Debord Lake House, Osage Beach, Missouri, 1992; Bethany Place, Belleville, Illinois, 2000; 1856 Menard, St. Louis, Missouri, 2002; 7722 South Big Bend, SWT Designs, Shrewsbury, Missouri, 2004; and Muny Upper Plaza, Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri, 2004.

Architect and alumnus Phil Durham at a standing desk working on a design sketch in his studio.
Phil Durham in his studio at 1856 Menard.

A companion exhibition, Principal Perspectives: The Work of Phil Durham, was on view at The Sheldon Art Galleries at Grand Center, February – May 2020. Projects highlighted at the Sheldon include Pond Studios, David Oakey Designs, LaGrange, Georgia, 1997; 1856 Menard, St. Louis, Missouri, 2002; City Garden, St. Louis Missouri, 2009; Soulard Prototype, St. Louis, Missouri, 2007; and 9900 Old Warson Road, St. Louis, Missouri, 2013.

Philip Andrew Durham was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1961, and spent his childhood living on Long Island and in upstate New York. He was educated at Washington University in St. Louis where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1983 and a Masters of Architecture in 1985. After graduation he was hired by HOK in St. Louis, working on a variety of commercial projects throughout the United States, Mexico, and Europe, and traveling extensively. In 1992 Phil formed Rubio|Durham Architects with offices in Chicago and St. Louis. In 2002 the firm was reorganized as Studio|Durham Architects, where Phil practiced until his unexpected death in 2018. From large projects, such as the landscape-integrated City Garden restaurant in downtown St. Louis, to pro-bono permit drawings in the community, Phil insisted all projects receive detailed attention and the highest quality work.