He designed six buildings identified as being of interest as part of the 'Twentieth Century Architecture in Launceston' and his name is borne on Tasmania's highest award for commercial architecture.
Colin Philp is now considered one of the eminent art deco architects operating in Launceston around the 1930s and his standing has only grown since his death.
His designs - Duncan House on Brisbane Street and the Alfred Harrap warehouse on the corner of Cimitiere and Tamar Streets - are listed in the architecture register, as are a pair of houses in East Launceston, another building on Brisbane Street and a church hall in Kings Meadows.
Another of Philp's designs, number seven Trotsford Crescent, Newstead, received approval at Launceston council's ordinary meeting on May 6 to be demolished.
The application received 12 representations after being advertised earlier in 2021 and was deemed to be compliant with the Launceston Interim Planning Scheme, and therefore appropriate for approval by the council's town planner.
Launceston woman Julieanne Richards was one that made a representation about the development.
In her letter to council Ms Richards suggested an improvement could be made in the communication between Launceston council and the dialogue they have with ratepayers.
In the wake of the property's approval Ms Richards suggested it could be time to review, and even overhaul, the decision making process regarding development in Launceston so that more nuanced and demographically relevant values were considered.
"I'd really like to see council take active steps to have meaningful conversations with the different communities in Launceston about what they value in the areas in which they live," she said.
Every suburb has it's own quite unique character. You can see the patterns of historic development in Launceston really nicely through the architecture.Julieanne Richards, representation against 7 Trotsford Crescent
Ms Richards also called on Launceston council to consider revitalising the consultation process for development.
"The way the process goes at the moment, often the opportunity to put a representation is is just a rubber stamping exercise," she said.
"People don't really feel that what they feel are genuine concerns are listened to.
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"If everything just gets waved through then people feel like their values aren't appreciated, and they don't feel like the council is actually interested in them as citizens anymore."
Tasmanian Ratepayers Association President, and working architect, Lionel Morrell said a review of the planning process and delivery of characters statements of areas of Launceston were well overdue.
Every area of Launceston was meant to have a character statement and it makes it very difficult when there isn't one ... it's a failing of the planning scheme.Lionel Morrell, Tasmanian Ratepayers Association President
The character statements Mr Morrell referred to are a series of evaluations that Launceston council undertook in 2018 termed "heritage precincts". The project was given a time frame of five years.
Settled in 1806, Launceston is the third oldest city in Australia.
Like taking a core sample from a drill underground, Launceston indeed does represent a number of stages of development in Tasmania and, through its rangy architecture, holds a rich history.
The clearly defined nature of Launceston and some of its streetscapes is a hallmark of the city, and defining of the location.
After gold was first discovered in Beaconsfield in 1847, money began flowing into the region - which extended into Launceston.
With money came migrants seeking their fortune, and with migrants came a wealth of architectural diversity and understanding.
And so construction began, marking the first and most distinguishable architectural period in Launceston.
Once the mines dried up, the money did too. This is credited with leading to the delineated nature of architecture in the city as construction favoured building on vacant lots rather than tearing down existing buildings and starting fresh.
As a result, architects like Philp left an obvious and discernible footprint on the city that was left untouched and still standing.
University of Tasmania architecture associate professor Dr David Beynon said Philp was indeed a renowned architect in Launceston, and his work was an important part of that architectural journey through eras.
Though Philp's work at Trotsford Crescent was likely only distinguishable in its towering two tiered chimney, the architect was no doubt an important figure.
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"He's a significant architect. I think he's probably one of Tasmania's most significant of the 20th century when you think about all the things he has done," Dr Beynon said.
At this stage the fate of Seven Trotsford Crescent may be sealed, but is there value in preserving different sections of Launceston differently for the future?
Should Newstead be devoted to the subdued art deco curves and polished surfaces of 1930's architects like Philp? Should new development by current day architects that use renewable materials to nestle buildings into cliff faces on great podiums be dedicated to the steep slopes of West Launceston?
At May's council meeting councillor Tim Walker raised the point that perhaps there were "buildings that aren't on a heritage register that should be".
His statement gave weight to calls for a reevaluation of the heritage register in Launceston.
Complicating matters, however, is the existence of a heritage council list and a separate heritage list within the Launceston council.
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"There definitely are properties that aren't listed that could be. Although most are listed, particularly those around town," he said.
Though Mr Walker said a lot of work has been done to find some congruence between the two.
As for evaluating the character of particular areas of Launceston differently to other areas, Mr Walker said more would needed to be done.
There is not yet enough precinct protection, but it needs to be done and it needs to be done quickly.Launceston councillor Tim Walker
The reason for Mr Walker's suggestion of haste was because of an increased amount of development he had seen come through council, and is evident around the streets of Launceston. With more investors, he suggested, the quicker houses would be demolished were they not reconsidered by precinct protection.
Given Philp's early work at Trotsford Crescent fell outside of the 1986 guide for Launceston's twentieth century architecture and the ongoing evaluation of precinct protection, Ms Richards, along with a number of her fellow representors suggested it might be time to invest in an updating of that portfolio.
Launceston council chief executive Michael Stretton said this was the function of the precinct project.
"We are aiming to improve the management of our built heritage by reviewing our local heritage list and introducing a series of heritage precincts across the city," he said.
[Launceston council] places great value on the heritage significance of historic properties within the city and has a proven track record of protecting built heritage.Launceston council chief executive Michael Stretton
"As part of its supporting work for the new Tasmanian Planning Scheme, [Launceston council] has also developed its proposed Local Provisions Schedule which includes scope to define dedicated heritage precincts in Launceston."
As for Ms Richards queries over the ability for local council members to have their individual voices heard in planning discussions, Mr Stretton said the current process allowed for that.
"We routinely see a variety of public opinions on development applications in Launceston, which is why development applications are publicly advertised in The Examiner and why representors are invited to make submissions," he said.
While Philp's work has obvious merit in consideration for heritage registration, Mr Wilson was of the opinion that almost 100 years of alterations and additions to the property meant it was not the best example of his work.
Dr Beynon was more reserved in his observation of Trotsford Cresent and said the most prominent Philp feature of the house was the chimney.
Though the person perhaps most well equipped to talk about the preservation of Philp's work is Philp himself.
While he has long since finished work in Launceston, left his mark in Hobart, continued on to New Guinea and since died, his words were captured in time among the pages of The Examiner in the 1930s.
Along with proposals for construction he advertised in the paper, he regularly contributed ad-hoc articles discussing architectural themes of the time. Even in the 1930s debate raged about whether old should make way for new.
"Architecture has always been the out growth of, and has always been built on, what has gone before. We cannot escape our heritage," Philp wrote on April 21, 1934.
Architecture has always been the out growth of, and has always been built on, what has gone before. We cannot escape our heritage.Architect Colin Philp in 1934
"All buildings should express the materials from which they are built, the method whereby they are built, and the purpose for being built. Having this in mind it seems to me that we aren't really engaged in a new movement at all.
"Designers of all ages have sought for lasting beauty to assuage the soul, and comparatively few have found it.
"We think we are practical today and that they in the past were not: yet I do not know. They could get along very well with much less than we demand.
"Perhaps in a few years even we will laugh at the present age."
Perhaps in a few years even we will laugh at the present age.Architect Colin Philp in 1934
Like the bones of an expertly designed house, the debate stands strong.
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