Alison Brooks Architects: Cultural Formations - Selected Works 2002-2022

18 February – 7 April 2022
Clare Hall, University of Cambridge
Open 9am-5pm daily

One of the most exciting and innovative contemporary architectural practices, Alison Brooks Architects, is the subject of our current exhibition at Clare Hall. Models, mounted on pedestals, drawings and photographs represent 20 years' work and include major building projects, such as that recently completed at Exeter College, Oxford. All are on show in Clare Hall’s main building, designed by Ralph Erskine, an Englishman who established a practice in Sweden and became part of Scandi Modernism. His work and that of Alison Brooks establish an immediate connection, through a sympathetic use of materials, an interest in simplicity and a desire for architecture that relates to a way of life and the needs of those who live or work in it. 

Each of the displayed works demonstrates Alison Brooks Architects’ ability to reveal and translate social histories, urban archetypes and iconographies into contemporary space and form; at the same time, they celebrate locality and craft with a tectonically inventive architecture.

Alison Brooks Architects is recognised as one of the UK’s most influential and internationally acclaimed design practices. Founded by Alison Brooks in 1996, the London-based studio employs cultural research as a catalyst both for community engagement and for new forms of architectural expression. Alison Brooks Architects’ built works demonstrate commitment to generous, inclusive city-building supported by a uniquely sculptural design language that runs through their diverse portfolio of urban design and higher education projects, private houses and public buildings for the arts. 

Founder Alison Brooks sees architecture as both a social art and a form of creative cultural dialogue offering new forms of civic identity to the constituencies that her projects serve. Her practice has received over eighty awards for design quality, including 2021 Architecture MasterPrize for the Cohen Quadrangle, Oxford, 2021 Education Estates University Project of the Year, 2021 RIBA House of the Year, 2021 Manser Medal and 2020 Dezeen Architect of the Year. Alison Brooks Architects remains the only UK practice to have won the RIBA Stirling Prize, the Manser Medal (twice), and the Stephen Lawrence Prize.

Education and arts commissions include the recently completed Cohen Quadrangle, Oxford and Homerton College’s Children's Literature Research Centre in Cambridge. They have exhibited four times at the Venice Architecture Biennale. In addition to public installations such as the Smile, 2017 London Design Festival Landmark and the world’s first carbon-negative hardwood CLT pavilion, private houses continue to serve as a focussed platform for the practice's design research.

Alison Brooks Architects is also known for its commitment to the art and civic role of housing, and is designing major urban projects in the UK and abroad. Landmark urban projects include ‘courtyard towers’ in King's Cross and Tottenham Hale (both in construction), faience-clad the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; three developments in Eddington, Cambridge and a high-density mixed-use urban quarter in Vancouver, Canada.

Covid safety

Clare Hall kindly requests that you do not visit the exhibition if you are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19.  Please wear facial coverings on arrival at Clare Hall and throughout exploring the exhibition, unless exempt. Clare Hall has multiple hand-sanitising stations en route to the exhibition space, and encourages their use by all. 

Useful information

  • Accessibility details: full step-free access, accessible toilet, lift.
  • Find directions on how to get to Clare Hall and contact details here.
  • Please direct any queries to Fiona Blake, Secretary to Clare Hall's Art Committee, at

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