28 June 2018
28 June 2018
Alison Brooks Architects, London: Open, Informal, Intense
The Culture of Practice
This year, Alison Brooks Architects held a party at Somerset House to celebrate its 21st anniversary. For Founder Alison Brooks, who has won the RIBA Stirling Prize, Woman Architect of the Year and this year was honoured with the Architects’ Journal’s AJ100 Contribution to the Profession Award, the practice has come a long way since it was just a few people working around her kitchen table.
Now employing more than 30 staff and located in a large open-plan office in Highgate Studios in North London, the practice works on a wide range of projects from housing to university colleges. The firm, with its design studio-like culture, has developed its own style and is known for its attention to detail with each project heavily embedded in context -driven research.
“We treat every project as an urban design project first,” says Brooks. “Our projects always start with a lot of research into the places where we are designing, right from the national identity to the local cities, neighbourhoods and culture.” She continues: “There is a continuous exploration and we are open to the unexpected and new ways of approaching architectural problems.”
Despite continuing work on competitions, Brooks is keen that the practice also always builds and does not become a firm which just takes schemes to planning. “I insist with every project that we are novated and do the detailed design,” she adds.
With more work coming in, Brooks knows she will have to continue to expand the firm, alongside this she also plans to expand its core leadership structure. She is also looking abroad for work – to places like Northern Europe, to Canada and to North America. Brooks concludes: “You need stamina to constantly go into the unknown and deliver design excellence and service. It is not an easy path.”
Author: Molly McCloy, Marketing Coordinator, Bespoke Careers