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Alison Brooks on Architecture and Travel

Interview Date: 15-08-2012
(More interviews from this person)

VIEW the entire interview on VIDEO!

What is the importance of architectural events worldwide? What are the profits for a city holding such kind of major events?

Architectural events are really important to bring the global architectural community together. It’s one of the great things about the profession, is the way it’s a kind of community of like-minded people who have the best interest of cities, of people, of culture at heart and obviously economic growth and sustainability. So, the forum is great, to have the opportunity to also meet people that you don’t normally encounter, to look outside your everyday city.

What is the importance of Architectural Tourism? What is the importance of traveling especially for architects and humans in general?

Travel is essential for architects. You know, there are certain things that every architect has to go see, like Rome for example, the great cities of the world, the great works of architecture form every period. But you can also travel a bit too much. Sometimes you just need to look a little more closely at your street, where you live, or what’s around the corner. I look at London every day. Every day I get surprises and I think “Oh, I’ve been traveling down the street for twenty years and I’ve never noticed that fantastic roof detail, or that amazing brick pattern. It’s a bit like candids. You can spend your whole life traveling and what you really want is in your own backyard.

At the end, can you please provide your personal proposal for 10 buildings (constructed and visitable) which you think as the most important worldwide that someone must visit anyway?

Maybe, number one on my list would be the “Staatsbibliothek” in Berlin by Hans Scharoun, of course Ronchamp by Le Corbusier, Hadrian’s villa at Tivoli, which is in ruin but it’s the most fantastic place of architectural imagination.Probably “Fallingwater” by Frank Lloyd Wright and there are some incredible English country houses, like the Vine, which I think are really inspiring.There are a lot of places where I haven’t been, like in Africa, and I’d like to see. It’s important to also see failures as well as successes, like to go to Brasilia I think is a very interesting lesson, or Chandigarh to see where things can go wrong, where you have a sort of a monumental architecture and monumental urbanism and that adds up to make a kind of a ghost town in a way. There are a lot of mistakes actually that people can visit, that everybody should learn from. These are my top five.Also the new Students’ Library in Utrecht by Wiel Arrets, I think it’s fantastic. Everybody should go to Rotterdam and look at all of the housing done in the Docklands there and Amsterdam. OMA’s “Concert Hall” in Porto, Portugal is fantastic. I’m thinking of places that I’ve taken my office to see, and we’ve gone to Porto and Copenhagen. Copenhagen is good; it’s good to see the work of Bjarke Ingels there, the Housing. I don’t know, there are lots of places, in Japan, in Russia, in China that I haven’t been. St Petersburg is great as well, as a kind of amazing example of a city that was created sort of out of nothing, in a swamp, the great artistic talents of the 17th-18th century all brought together into one place to create a kind of amazing urban utopia in a way. Stockholm is also great.



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Alison Brooks

Alison Brooks

Architect
Country: United Kingdom
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Bio

Alison Brooks Architects is recognised as one of the UK’s leading architectural talents since being founded in 1996. ABA is the first UK practice to have won the UK’s three most prestigious awards for architecture – the Stirling Prize for Acordia Cambridge, with FCB and MLA (2008), the Manser Medal for Salt House (2007), and the Stephen Lawrence Prize for Wrap House (2006).An intensely site-specific approach, drawing upon the broader cultural context of each project, has generated a continuously experimental and award winning body of work. ABA’s belief in the transformative power of architecture underlies a commitment to housing design and its role in defining the character and sustainability of our cities. Recent competition wins for major residential schemes include the South Acton, South Kilburn and the Gateshead BIG regeneration projects. ABA has also been selected to design a new residential quarter in Bath’s UNESCO World Heritage site.

With their focus expanding to higher education and arts buildings, ABA has recently won national competitions for the University of Northampton Masterplan and the Bridgwater Performing Arts Centre. ABA’s Folkstone Quarterhouse Performing Arts Centre received a 2009 RIBA National Award and the 2010 Kent Design Award for best Public Building.

In 2010 ABA’s Audi Urban Future project for collaborative mobility and sustainable urban growth was exhibited at the VIth Internationa lVenice Architecture Biennale. Alison Brooks Architects’ completed buildings have twice featured in the Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture.

Alison Brooks – Profile
Canadian born and educated at the University of Waterloo, she moved to the UK in 1989 to form a partnership in Ron Arad Associates. In 1996 she founded Alison Brooks Architects Ltd., an award-winning practice operating from Highgate Studios in London.

She is a CABE National Design Review Panel member, sits on the RIBA Awards Group and in 2011 was a member of the RIBA Stirling Prize Jury. She has held a Diploma Unit Master teaching position at the Architectural Association ands erved as External Examiner at Universities of Bath and Lincoln. She has been juror for the Housing Design Awards and Young Architect of the Year Awards, in which she was a finalist in 1999. In 2008 she was keynote speaker at the RIBA International Conference in Barcelona as well as the RIAS and RIAW conferences. She lectures internationally on architecture and urbanism.

:: Photo information and credits:

1-2 > Accordia, Alison Brooks Architects
Photo courtesy ©
Alison Brooks Architects

3-4 > Exeter, Alison Brooks Architects
Photo courtesy ©
Alison Brooks Architects

5-6 > Folkstone Quarterhouse, Alison Brooks Architects
Photo courtesy ©
Alison Brooks Architects

7 > Gallions, Alison Brooks Architects
Photo courtesy ©
Alison Brooks Architects

8-9 > Newhall, Alison Brooks Architects
Photo courtesy ©
Alison Brooks Architects

10 > South Acton, Alison Brooks Architects
Photo courtesy ©
Alison Brooks Architects

11 > Rainham, Alison Brooks Architects
Photo courtesy ©
Alison Brooks Architects

12 > Kaleidoscope City, Alison Brooks Architects
Photo courtesy ©
Alison Brooks Architects