Phil Harrison

Principal, Chief Executive Officer

Phil believes inspired design acts in the service of humanity. When it achieves beauty and rigor, poetry and technology, creativity and innovation, design has the power to invigorate the human experience. As CEO of the second-largest architecture and design firm in the world, Phil takes this responsibility very seriously.

Phil motivates teams around the globe to devise breakthrough solutions to the profession’s most pressing challenges. From championing research and technology to cultivating a culture of curiosity and experimentation, his goal is to propel the spirit of imagination into measurable action.

“When teams are aligned in their vision and goals, they channel their energy into design innovation and client service,” he says. “This creative synergy allows us to exceed our clients’ expectations and make the design and construction process joyful.”

A licensed architect in 9 U.S. states and 2 Canadian provinces, Phil has led Perkins&Will as CEO since 2006, tripling the firm’s size, expanding its geographic reach, and deepening its focus on design excellence. He and his family live in Atlanta, and he spends his free time traveling, cycling, cooking, making art, and playing music.

Then and now, leading us into the future
In 2010, Phil accepted a National Building Museum Honor Award on behalf of our firm. The award recognized our legacy of socially relevant design, our commitment to well-being, and our civic responsibility—values we still uphold to this day.
“It is one thing to have ambitious ideas, but something else to actualize your aspirations. When we are talking about big challenges, we have to break them down into smaller, more actionable solutions. I’m passionate about the connection between dreaming and doing.”
Phil on "Collaboration," 2010
Art and the human experience

Immediately after graduating from college, Phil traveled to West Africa on a visual arts fellowship. For a year, he embedded himself in traditional villages in the Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Nigeria, using 16mm film to document the role of art in their society. Phil saw that art was an essential part of the life in these places—from pictographs hand-painted on the mud walls of thatched huts, to hand-carved ceremonial masks, to music and dance. This understanding would leave a lasting imprint on Phil, helping to shape his view that art and design are inherently democratic and integral parts of human experience.

“There’s so much richness in the problem-solving that designers engage in every day. Architecture synthesizes creative, economic, technological, environmental, and social dimensions, making it one of the most complex and dynamic professions. The work is constantly changing—and that’s invigorating.”