Alison Brooks Architects wins Cambridge College competition

Alison Brooks Architects has been commissioned by Homerton College, Cambridge to design their new main Entrance Building and Children’s Literature Resource Centre, after winning a two-stage design competition.

The design brief asked for a new entrance appropriate to the size and ambition of the College; including a new Porters’ Lodge which both welcomes first-time visitors and meets the needs of resident students; and to expand the College Library, allowing it to host exhibitions as well as provide study space.

Alison Brooks Architects’ scheme is inspired by the Homerton College campus, its architectural eclecticism and its Arts & Crafts legacy. Our proposed building form is a three storey ‘cube’ with a wide single storey base that extends outward in four directions.

“We’re delighted with this opportunity to design Homerton College’s new Entrance Building and Children’s Literature Resource Centre as a welcoming ‘lantern’ and multi-purpose hub for the College’s communities. We’re very much inspired by Homerton’s campus, its arts and crafts legacy and we look forward to producing its first net zero mass timber building.” — Alison Brooks

Joana Polonia

Architecture and Inequity: New Practices of Care

from Alison Brooks Architects joined the London Festival of Architecture & Royal Academy of Arts‘ ‘Architecture and Inequity: New Practices of Care’ symposium.

Bringing together original research that considers the systemic inequalities in our cities and proposes positive approaches that explore the built environment from a critical perspective, the panel discussed inclusive design strategies and explored how architecture can accept difference.

Joana Polonia

Future Assembly | The Umbrella Islands

In addition to ‘Home Ground’, we have also contributed to Future Assembly, an exhibition in the Giardini’s Central Pavilion as part of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition. Curated by Studio Other Spaces (Olafur Eliasson), the work explores the value system of the United Nations and imagines new futures for how we can collaboratively come together.


Today, as humankind faces a devastating pandemic and a triple planetary crisis – climate change, biodiversity loss and severe degradation of air, land and water – we need to end our war on nature and begin to act more holistically to secure the health of the species, ecosystems and resources with which we coexist and on which our survival depends.

This ‘Future Assembly’ exhibition calls on all of us to re-imagine new pathways for our global governance architecture and to strengthen multilateralism so that it is more networked and inclusive. At this pivotal moment for people and planet, the United Nations is determined to work with all partners to uphold our shared values, navigate common challenges and seize the opportunities of the century ahead.’

– António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations


The installation ‘The Umbrella Islands’ is inspired by Alison Brooks’ annual pilgrimage to the Umbrella Islands of Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada. Part of the Canadian Shield, it is a four billion-year-old landscape and the largest area of Archean Era rock that is still visible at the Earth’s surface. The installation consists of four 63.5mm diameter core samples from this ancient rock formation, set in timber trays to offer a sensory sampling of the Shield, embodied by the Umbrella Islands. To accompany this are geological maps of the islands and a selection of Alison Brooks’ personal photographs that reveal the haunting beauty of the islands. It is the direct connection to an Archaean Era environment and the incomprehensibly long timeframe that the rocks have witnessed that makes the experience of visiting the Umbrella Islands so powerful.

Installation photo: Gerdastudio

Joana Polonia

Home Ground | Biennale Architettura 2021

Excited to share ‘Home Ground’, our contribution to the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, curated by Hashim Sarkis.

Situated in the Arsenale, our installation responds to the question ‘How will we live together?’ with a monumental table into which sixteen architectural models are cast as a participatory ‘conversation piece’. ‘Home Ground’ explores how housing defines the way we live together in cities; as households, and by shaping collective ground. It combines models of Alison Brooks Architects’ current housing projects from locations across the world. The installation reflects upon the nature of ground floor communal spaces in housing architecture as both thresholds to the private realm of the home and gathering spaces, where new communities can form. 

Photography: Gerdastudio
Fabrication: Base Models

Joana Polonia