London Festival of Architecture: City(e)State

Thank you to all those who joined us for our City(e)State exhibition at our studio! This event was part of the 2017 London Festival of Architecture.


Alison Brooks honoured with AJ100 Contribution to the Profession Award

Voted for by employees of the UK’s top architectural practices, Alison Brooks was awarded with this year’s AJ100 Contribution to the Profession Award at a gala ceremony at Tower of London.

The award was a particular privilege, with previous recipients including Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers and David Chipperfield. Click here to read the full article by Ruth Slavid in The Architects’ Journal.

“I represent a generation that operated in the transition between the high Modernism of the 20th Century through Post-modernism and Post-postmodernism and all the isms until finally everybody ran out of isms. We realised that we can have diversity and influences from history without being historicist. We can be sensitive and responsive to existing cultures. I feel fortunate to have been part of taking architecture out of its straitjacket.” – Alison Brooks.


The Cohen Quadrangle: Collegiate Architecture as Future Heritage – LFA 2017

In a rare public talk and Q&A session as part of the London Festival of Architecture 2017, Alison Brooks will be sharing the ideals and design approach behind the newest building to emerge on the Oxford city skyline; the Exeter College Cohen Quad.

ABA’s campus is due for completion later this year, making it the first complete College commissioned by the University of Oxford since Powell & Moya’s 1974 Wolfson College.

The Cohen Quad is a 21st century reinvention of the collegiate quadrangle, the basis of Oxford’s academic and urban fabric. Weaving together themes of collective memory, spatial experimentation, and the contemporary narrative of the city, the talk also addresses the architect’s role in creating generous and humane platforms for social exchange.

The design of the new quad is based on three key concepts: the journey, places of gathering and sense of home. These concepts are embedded in the formal layout of the building, the variety of its spaces, and its shimmering, curved stainless steel roof. The 6,000mCohen Quad offers a new institutional model for education and creativity. At its heart is the Learning Commons; its multi-layered spaces speak of a future where socialising, eating, drinking, studying and teaching will merge and evolve in a multitude of ways.

The Exeter College Cohen Quad talk will take place on the 22 June at 2pm in the Embankment Gallery of Somerset House. Entry is on a ‘first come, first served’ basis; please arrive promptly to secure a place.

The London Festival of Architecture is Europe’s biggest annual architecture festival, and returns to the capital from 1-30 June 2017 with hundreds of events exploring ‘memory’. It celebrates London as a global architectural hub, provokes questions about the life of the city, and promotes positive change to its public realm. For more information on the festival, visit


Thu, 06.22.17 , 14.00
Embankment Galleries, Somerset House
Embankment Galleries, Somerset House
Embankment Galleries, Somerset House (map)

Financial Times: Timber advocates reach for the skies

The Smile features as an exemplar of innovative use of CLT in the Financial Times’ article on the cutting edge of a new timber architecture.

‘After more than three centuries, a wooden architecture is once more taking shape in the city, which is leading the world in large-scale urban timber construction… However, temporary and experimental buildings are starting to nurture that experience. Last year Alison Brooks Architects built the world’s largest CLT tubular structure at site. The Smile… was a single, simple curve erected for the London Design Festival… London may no longer be surrounded by the forests of the Elizabethan era, but it is at least at the cutting edge of a new timber architecture’.

Click here to read the full article.

Financial Times

Green light for ABA’s third project in South Kilburn

Durham & Gloucester Court is a step closer to construction as Brent Council announces a Development and Sale Agreement with Telford Homes.

Alison Brooks Architects have designed 84 of the 236 units in this mixed-tenure residential development which forms part of the South Kilburn Estate Regeneration Masterplan for the London Borough of Brent. Phase 3 of the Masterplan is led by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios with Alison Brooks Architects and Gort Scott, with landscape by Grant Associates. The scheme has received detailed planning consent and Telford Homes intend to start on site by September 2017, with completion due in 2021.

Amar Dave, Strategic Director Regeneration and Environment, Brent Council said: “We’re serious about making this borough an amazing place to live and are working hard to build the homes that people need. The partnership with Telford Homes brings us one step closer to delivering our target of 2,400 new homes in South Kilburn.”

Jon Di-Stefano, Chief Executive of Telford Homes, commented: “We are delighted to have been selected as the preferred partner of the London Borough of Brent for the redevelopment of Gloucester House and Durham Court. South Kilburn is undergoing major regeneration and our involvement represents the start of an exciting new relationship with Brent and our first development in the Borough. We look forward to exchanging contracts in the near future and commencing work on site later this year.”

For more about Durham & Gloucester Court, click here. 

Brent Council

The Smile wins Architizer A+Award

A Winning Smile! We’ve won the Jury’s Award for the Cultural-Pavilions category in the Architizer A+Awards 2017, announced 11th April.  The Smile was also shortlisted in the Pop-Ups, Temporary and Wood categories.

The highlight of the 2016 London Design Festival, The Smile was an experimental public pavilion designed by Alison Brooks Architects and engineered by Arup. Conceived as a habitable arc poised on the horizon, The Smile offered an immersive sensory environment integrating structure, surface, space and light. Using only cross laminated timber, the 34-metre-long dynamically curved space was an installed in the Chelsea College of Art (UAL) Parade Ground opposite Tate Britain. It was open to the public for 4 weeks attracting 30,000 visitors. With 290m online views and thousands of Instagram photos, the Smile sparked a global audience with its spectacular scale, pure form, and advanced timber engineering.

Each end of the Smile focused on a particular view of the locality – at one end a tree crown, at the other end the Edwardian façade of Chelsea College. Small perforations along the length of the tube expressed the forces acting on the CLT, translating the forces into light patterns for the Smile’s interior. Unique to tulipwood as a structural material is its beautiful grain and fine finish. Along with its unique curved floor, natural timber scent and unusual acoustic qualities, the Smile was ‘the most complex structure ever built in CLT’.

The project brief was to create a magnet for public engagement with architecture and design, while demonstrating the extraordinary properties of tulipwood, a North American hardwood tree species that is twice as strong and half as heavy as softwood. The Smile’s 12m long x 4m wide x 3m high CLT cantilevers were engineered to support 60-100 people at one end with only a 1m deep timber footing. The Smile one of the most important developments in a decade of research into structural timber innovation by The American Hardwood Council and Arup.

The Architizer A+Awards is the largest awards program focused on promoting and celebrating the year’s best architecture and products. Its mission is to nurture the appreciation of meaningful architecture in the world and champion its potential for a positive impact on everyday life. The shortlist of five finalists per category was nominated by an international jury of industry leaders from architecture, technology, art, fashion and design fields. The awards culminate in a red carpet gala celebration in New York in May.


The Architizer A+Awards