Better Future - Space - Alison Brooks

9 November 2018 | Mark Bergin

Space, place or a home? The ability to create something that is at once a transient and enduring space, a sculptural place, and that gives a sense of home is no easy feat. It is probably for this reason that Alison Brooks is the first female architect to receive all three of the UK’s most prestigious architectural awards: the RIBA Stirling Prize, the Manser Medal and the Stephen Lawrence Prize, along with a long list of other esteemed industry accolades.

But that is not the sole reason we are recognising Alison this week. For architects today, there poses a dilemma in tackling projects that are steeped deep in tradition but also must continue to hold a relevant place in an undoubtedly different future. Such is the case with Alison’s recent project: the Cohen Quadrangle for Exeter College, Oxford – a place built upon old values with notable alumni such as William Morris, Edward Burne Jones, J.R.R Tolkein, Richard Burton and Roger Banister.

Cohen Quad at Exeter College, Oxford

Beginning as a mere practical construction project, the Cohen Quadrangle for Exeter College has slowly evolved into Oxford’s very own Expedition towards a Better Future. At a time where so much of the Old must now be transformed into the New, it is imperative that we celebrate the achievements of global leaders like Alison – who has proved beyond capable in addressing the institutional  demands of a tight-knit community like Oxford, whilst also advancing them into the now and paving the way for the tomorrow’s students to explore, learn and create a better future.

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