Thomas Phifer (born 1953 in South Carolina) is an American architect based in New York City.
He is perhaps best known for the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Brochstein Pavilion at Rice University in Houston, Texas and the design for the Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland. Around 2006, Phifer won New York City‘s City Lights Design Competition, which began replacing the city’s high-pressure sodium streetlights with new standard LED streetlights starting in 2011.
Phifer was born in Columbia, South Carolina. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1975 and a Master of Architecture degree in 1977, both from Clemson University. He also studied at the Daniel Center for Architecture and Urban Studies in Genoa, Italy in 1976.
Phifer held the Stevenson Chair at the University of Texas and taught at Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania.
Phifer launched his firm Thomas Phifer and Partners in 1997 after a decade of working for Richard Meier.
Reception and awards
The San Francisco Chronicle's architecture critic John King described Phifer as "a master of meticulous modernism who has won praise for gem-like private homes and such cultural facilities as [the 2015] addition to the Corning Museum of Glass", but criticized 222 Second Street (Phifer's first commercial office highrise, completed by Tishman Speyer in 2016) as "designed and built by New Yorkers" without taking the building's San Francisco surroundings into account.
Phifer received the Rome Prize in Architecture from the American Academy in Rome in 1995, and was honored with a residency the following year at the Academy's campus. In 2004, Phifer was awarded the Medal of Honor from the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Phifer's Salt Point House won an American Architecture Award from the Chicago Atheneum in 2008. In 2009, he received a Research and Development Award from Architect magazine for his international competition-winning design for New York City's City Lights light fixture.
The Raymond and Susan Brochstein Pavilion and the North Carolina Museum of Art, both designed by Phifer's firm, received National Honor Awards from the AIA in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
In 2011, Phifer received a Fellowship from the American Institute of Architects. Phifer was also elected as an Academician for the National Academy of Design in 2012. Phifer's buildings have won seven AIA National Honor Awards and fourteen AIA New York Honor Awards. In 2013, Phifer was awarded the Architecture Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
- North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, North Carolina
- Raymond and the Susan Brochstein Pavilion at Rice University in Houston, Texas
- Salt Point House, Hudson River Valley, New York
- Millbrook House in the Hudson River Valley, New York
- Taghkanic House in the Hudson River Valley, New York
- Castle Clinton National Monument in Manhattan, New York
- Boulder House in Boulder, Colorado
- Clemson University Lee Hall Expansion in Clemson, South Carolina
- Fishers Island House in Long Island, New York
- Sagaponac House, New York
- Seoul Language School in Seoul, South Korea
- Steelcase, Inc. Headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan
- U.S. Courthouse for the District of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah
- Spencertown House in Spencertown, New York
- Glenstone in Potomac, Maryland
- Corning Museum of Glass addition in Corning, New York, completed in 2015
- LED Light Fixture, New York City‘s City Lights Design Competition
- 222 Second Street in San Francisco (Phifer's first commercial tower, housing offices of LinkedIn), opened in 2016
- Red River Canopy Walk skyway in Austin, Texas