Phineas Harper is a critic and designer based in London. He is Deputy Director of the think tank, the Architecture Foundation and Chief Curator of the 2019 Oslo Architecture Triennale with Interrobang and Cecilie Sachs Olsen.
He writes a regular opinion column for design magazine, Dezeen.
The Architecture Foundation leads the best public programme of architectural talks and events in London. It is an independent not-for-profit think tank campaigning for a better built environment. With a renewed focus on the city and the critical intersection of architecture and politics, the AF works to effect meaningful change on policy and practice. Phineas joined the AF in 2015 with Ellis Woodman. Together they have relaunched the organisation reconnecting with a core membership of architects, clients, contractors and civil servants shaping London's development.
New Architecture Writers is a free programme for emerging design writers, developing the journalistic skill, editorial connections and critical voice of its participants. NAW focuses on black and minority ethnic emerging writers who are under-represented across design journalism and curation.
NAW was estbalished in 2017 by Phineas and Tom Wilkinson with the support of the Architectural Review and Architecture Foundation.
Phineas writes on the intersection of design and politics.
Turncoats is a shot in the arm of professional discourse. Many public panel debates are dry, tepid and risk-averse, unable to dig into imporant issues for fear of causing offence. In response, Turncoats fuses theatre with argument to create playful and combative format designed to ferment permissive and critical discussion.
Phineas founded Turncoats in London with Maria Smith in 2015. It now has multiple chapters around the world led by indepent agitators.
A People's History of Woodcraft Folk
Written and designed by Phineas Harper
Foreword by Jeremy Corbyn MP
Photography by Jonny Helm
With contributions by Jon Nott, Annebella Pollen, Martin Pover, Nicola Samson, Paul Bemrose, Doug Bourn, Kit Jones, Saskia Neibig, Zoë Waterman and Joel White
Published by Woodcraft Folk, 2016
The youth movement Woodcraft Folk has made a remarkable impact on British politics and education. Founded in 1925 on a wave of post-WWI utopianism and now a network of hundreds of local groups, it has empowered thousands of young people to shape the world around them.
This book explores the history, values and evolution of this unique organisation in a chronological sweep of stories from hand-making tents, and rescuing children from advancing Nazi troops, to campaigning against climate change.
The Architecture Sketchbook
Published by Magma and Laurence King, 2015
Phineas was commissioned by Magma and Laurence King to write and devise a sketchbook for architects which would be useful in a digital era. The finished book contains 120 blank and gridded pages and printed scale rulers (both metric and imperial), plus 16 pages of useful information on architectural styles, drawing types, circulation, room layouts, furniture and fittings, structural elements and sustainability.
Phineas has written, directed and presented a number of short documentaries on architecture. He has also appeared as an expert interviewee for external television production companies.
The Barbican: A Middle Class Council Estate, was made by Phineas for the Architectural Review and Architecture Foundation.
Croydon: The High-Rise and Fall, was written and presented by Phineas for the Architecture Foundation as the first in a two part series on the development of Croydon.
Phineas has taught undergraduate and postgraduate students at various schools of architecture and design in the UK. He was a visiting tutor at the CASS in 2016/17 and has recently been a guest critic at the Royal College of Art, the CASS, Glasgow School of Art, University of Westminster and Central Saint Martins.