Robin Phillips, Gibbs' 1956-1959 (July 2018)

Robin Phillips

R.P.H. Phillips minor as the Blue Book describes him, died at his home near Brisbane on 15th July 2018. He was the son of Ian  “Peter” Phillips (Gibbs’ 1928 - 32), brother of Anthony (Gibbs’ 1954 - 59), and uncle of Nicholas (Field’s 1984 - 89), Robert (Gibbs’ 1988 - 93) and Sarah (Manor 1995 - 97).

During his time at Lancing, Robin developed an interest in buildings and churches which was fostered by his Housemaster the Reverend Henry Thorold and lead to him leaving school at a young age to take his degree in architecture at The Royal West of England School of Architecture. This was the start of him becoming a truly international architect. He did a post graduate course at Columbia University writing his thesis on "psychosomatic architecture” but this proved to be risky as he was likely to be conscripted to join the Vietnam War. So he high-tailed it down to Mexico City to work for SG Constructions who were working on buildings for the Olympic Games. This was followed by another thesis in Japan - “The History and Philosophies affecting the standardisation of traditional domestic architecture in Japan”.  He subsequently worked in major centres throughout the world including London, Paris, Zurich, Oslo, Singapore, Australia and Thailand with two major projects during his career. The first was the renowned exhibition “Expo 88” opened by the Queen in Brisbane and the second - Seacon Square in Bangkok opened in 1994 which at the time was the third largest shopping centre in the world. In addition he carried out a considerable amount of commercial work particularly on the development of new towns and urban expansion.

Thanks to Lancing he was able to gain his private pilot’s licence at Shoreham airport which must have gone to his head for at the age of 35 whilst living in Grand Avenue in Worthing he entered a competition for man powered solo flights on the beach at the end of the road. The newspaper reports do not record whether he and his bicycle with wings ever flew off the ground! At a similar time there was insufficient space in his house for the family and a train set, so he set up a model railway exhibition at the end of Worthing pier, which he opened to the public.

In 1997 he developed problems with his breathing and had a major operation on his lungs from which he suffered thereafter. In retirement, seeking warm weather by living both in Thailand and Australia, he worked tirelessly on the Phillips family tree routing it back to 860AD. He established that the great Lancing benefactor, Henry Martin Gibbs was a 15 cousin three times removed.


He is survived by his sons Kim and Sam, his daughter Sonja having sadly died last year at the age of 47.

Anthony Phillips major (Gibbs’ 1954 -1959)