Alison Brooks is one of the UK’s most highly awarded and internationally acclaimed architects. Raised in Guelph, Ontario, she studied architecture at the University of Waterloo before moving to London in 1989. Since founding her practice in 1996 she has emerged as one of the UK’s most inventive architects, with works ranging from private houses and installations to education and arts buildings, masterplans and landmark towers. Alison Brooks’ unique architectural approach springs from her invested research into specific geographies, climate and cultures of each project, so that her design solutions to emerge as both unique and relevant to the constituencies they serve. This is beautifully exemplified by the recently completed Cohen Quadrangle at Exeter College, Oxford. The first Oxford College to be designed by a female architect, this building demonstrates the conceptual rigour, sculptural quality and ingenious detailing that is her practice trademark.
Alison Brooks has contributed to architectural education as Design Tutor, Visiting Lecturer and External Examiner for over twenty years. Teaching positions include Diploma Unit Master at the Architectural Association (2008- 2010, 2012-2016), Studio Leader at Harvard Graduate School of Design (2018) and Cornell AAP, Gensler Visiting Critic (2023).
Since 2018 Alison has led an annual Master in Collective Housing Design Workshop at ETSAM, Universidad Politécnica of Madrid. In 2014 Alison received the University of Waterloo Faculty of Engineering Alumni Achievement Award and in 2016, Doctor of Engineering (Honoris Causa). Her charitable work includes serving on Open City’s Board of Trustees from 2014-2022. She mentors high-school students from under-represented groups through charities Accelerate and Architecture in Schools.
Alison speaks globally at Universities and conferences as a public voice for the profession, advocating the role of women in architecture, the resurgence of building craft and the value of timber as an expressive, low carbon building technology. Alison has been awarded both Woman Architect of the Year and an AJ100 Contribution to the Profession Award.
Her work is widely published in professional journals. ‘Ideals then Ideas’, her first practice publication, was published in 2017. She often writes columns pro bono for architectural and artistic publications, recently for the Royal Academy and RIBA. A new practice Monograph, detailing a quarter-century of the firm’s work, will be published by TC Cuadernos in 2024.
In 2014 Alison was awarded an Alumni Achievement Award by the University of Waterloo, followed by a 2016 Doctorate of Engineering (Hon Causa).