When she was 13, Toni Phillips was making cardboard models of buildings and sometimes getting into trouble at school for drawing house designs in class, rather than listening to her teacher.
“I always knew that I wanted to do architecture. I’m fascinated by space and how that affects human emotion. When you open up a room by removing a wall, or when you let in more natural light it can completely change a person’s mood. The best architecture of all surprises and delights the mind as well as providing safety, security and protection.
Architecture has the ability to improve a person’s life with the implementation of good design. Architects are in a unique position to make the world a better place, both physically and emotionally… and that’s what drew me to the profession.”
Throughout her career, Toni has worked across various aspects of architecture… after starting in residential work she moved to commercial projects including hospitals, cinemas, schools and interiors. Working at Playoust Churcher, she continues her passion for residential design.
“I first started working at Playoust Churcher many years ago… and then following the birth of my children I left to raise them. During those years I also designed and project managed our family home. Now that my children are teenagers I was keen to get back into full-time work. It was serendipitous that Brett Churcher called to see if I was interested in coming back to work with the team here.
It was an easy decision to make. Playoust Churcher isn’t an architectural firm that is egotistical in terms of pushing their own agenda. They really want what is best for the client and they listen to and respect people’s individual needs. As a team, we bounce ideas around and support each other to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. And the location of the office is very central and convenient. It’s lovely to be able to invite clients for a coffee in the downstairs cafe and enjoy the leafy North Shore surrounds.”
Toni is always learning. She seeks to immerse herself in new ideas and concepts and is continually looking for new innovations in architectural products and construction methodology. And Australian design is something that she is proud to be a part of.
“My passion is contemporary Australian design. I believe that Australian architecture is at the forefront of design… it can be respectful of the environment and adapt to all the challenges the changing Australian climate presents. I always encourage every client to design with the environment and not against it.”
Toni has two teenage children. Much of her free time is spent working on implementing sustainable design elements to her own home. But as she jokes, “just like a mechanics’ car, an architect’s house is never complete.”