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Three Houses

Alison Brooks Architects

Canadian-born, London-based architect Alison Brooks is a reinventor of housing design typologies. UK mass housing is controlled by big business, and the boxy homes that make up the majority of its output leave little room for imagination. Brooks feels strongly that the commercial forces risk creating ghettos: “housing is city building; it is a social and political activity. It should be a site for experimentation and change”. In the eight years Alison Brooks Architects (ABA) has been in existence the practice has maintained its commitment to experimental work in urban design, housing, interiors and landscape, dominated by a string of highly acclaimed new housing schemes that have given her fame.
FUL House (1999) was a critique and metamorphosis of the Victorian-Edwardian terraced house. In 2001, the VXO project transformed a 1960s family home in Hampstead, with three new building elements to create a “domestic campus” of expressive “landscaped” structures. Even before it has been completed, Brooks won an RIBA Housing Design Award (2003) for Brooklands Avenue (2002-), a three part housing scheme in Cambridge for Countryside Properties which will be the largest modern public housing development in the city since 1965. The judges recognised its exemplary design in relation to UK government guidelines for sustainable developments.
ABA’s own emerging body of work strongly demonstrates an interest in transforming architecture out of its customary context and into landscape, giving it new character beyond the boundaries of tectonic convention. She loves the complex baroque sensibility architecture can attain through relatively few gestures, and the planar forms of origami feature in her recent works, which are often folded or wrapped surfaces of one single material.

Salt House
ABA has also realised new “indigenous” architecture on the British coastline, once much more of a working environment than it is now. The 350 m2 Salt...

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