Phil Kaplan

Phil was raised in a household of designers and creative thinkers, and he remembers being transfixed by a set of wooden blocks he received from his parents as a child. Since then, he’s been dreaming in three dimensions, and his ideas draw from a background in psychology, physics, geography, music, language, math, and literature. Phil talks fast and thinks even faster, and he gets his energy from asking questions, especially “what if?” He’s a natural extrovert, and his passion is for designing spaces that truly match the needs, goals, and real lives of our clients.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Phil attended Boston University, received his B.Arch. (with a Psychology Minor) from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in 1991, and moved to Maine in 1997. He is a Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire Licensed Architect, a member of the AIA currently serving on the AIA Maine Board of Directors, and a LEED Accredited Professional. He has been lead designer on numerous AIA, PSA, and LEED-Award winning projects since 2003.

Phil gives talks about his firm’s work and sustainability efforts throughout the Northeast and has served as an exhibition juror, guest critic, and Adjunct Professor. He was a founder, in 2006, of The Portland Society for Architecture (PSA), a local design advocacy group. He is the former Board Chair of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, which helps high-performance and energy efficiency professionals improve their practices through collaboration and learning throughout New England and beyond; served as the Architect Liaison to the Portland + South Portland One Climate Future initiative; and has also served on local boards in his current hometown of Falmouth, Maine. His podcast, Green Architects’ Lounge, is featured on the Green Building Advisor website.

Phil also joined the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) in 2006, an organization which helps high-performance and energy efficiency professionals improve their practices through collaboration and learning throughout New England and beyond. He attended NESEA’s BuildingEnergy Boston conference in his first year of membership and has not missed a subsequent conference, participating as both an earnest learner and knowledgeable presenter. He also served on the BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines Steering Committee and was a member of the NESEA Board of Directors for nine years, including stints as Board Chair and Development Chair, with a focus on expanding the organization’s programs to engage new demographics in high-performance building. His greatest legacy within the organization is the creation of the BE the Future scholarship, a program that invites students and emerging professionals to join a rich community and become the next generation of forward thinkers. In 2023, Phil received NESEA’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his significant contribution of time and service to the organization.

Phil is a big believer in a foundational concept at Kaplan Thompson Architects: the “Not So Big Ego.” His work in the community seeks to demystify the process of working with architects and to make great design accessible and attainable for more people, including the PSA’s “10-Minute Architect” program, which provides free services to the community.

He lives with his wife, Masey, and his 2 sons, Owen and Satchel. When not working or spending time with his family, Phil enjoys biking, being near – or in – just about any body of water, DJ-ing for whoever will listen, and reminiscing about his long-gone, and largely imagined glory days as a lacrosse hero. He is also proud to note that despite his passion for mycology, he has never eaten a poison mushroom.