Alison Brooks, Principal and Creative Director of Alison Brooks Architects, is recognised as one of the leading architects of her generation. She has developed an international reputation in the 20 years since founding her practice in London in 1996. Her architecture has attracted international acclaim for its conceptual rigour, sculptural quality and ingenious detailing.
Her approach, based on research into the specific social, cultural and physical contexts of each project, has led to a portfolio of award-winning architecture encompassing urban design, housing, education and buildings for the arts. She continues to produce architecture of distinct identity, sensitivity to its users and relevance to its place.
Named by Debrett’s/The Sunday Times as one of ‘Britain’s 500 Most Influential’, Alison Brooks is the only UK architect to have won all three of the UK’s most prestigious awards for architecture: the RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize, the RIBA Manser Medal and the RIBA Stirling Prize.
In 2012 Alison Brooks and her team were awarded Architect of the Year and Housing Architect of the Year. She was awarded 2013 Woman Architect of the Year by the Architect’s Journal in recognition of her work in housing, regeneration and education.
Alison Brooks’ belief in the transformative social role of architecture underlies a commitment to new models for housing and urban design. With over 2000 homes under construction across the UK, her groundbreaking live-work development at Newhall, Essex was shortlisted for the 2013 Stirling Prize and was Supreme Winner of the Housing Design Awards.
Alison Brooks was a member of Government Advisory Panel, the Farrell Review of Architecture and the Built Environment, is a CABE / Design Council National Design Review Chair and Trustee of Open-City and has recently been selected to join the Mayor of London’s Design Advocacy Panel. Currently a member of the RIBA Awards Group, she was juror for the 2011 Stirling Prize and the 2010 Lubetkin Prize. Alison Brooks has taught at the Architectural Association as Diploma Unit Master and served as External Examiner at the Universities of Bath and Lincoln. She is currently External Examiner at the Architectural Association and the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. Her work has been twice featured in the Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary Architecture.
Research projects include the Audi Urban Future Award; ABA’s City of Collaborative Mobility was exhibited at the VIth Venice Architecture Biennale and the New York Festival of Ideas for the New City. She recently exhibited the practice’s urban design work at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, City(e)State. Alison Brooks lectures internationally on architecture and urbanism.
Workshop Leader: Alison Brooks
Assistant teacher: Alejandro de Miguel Solano
MCH Workshop Length: 5 days
APPROVED GENERAL PLAN MODIFICATION (MPG 2017)
The site for this exercise is located in a central area of the city of Madrid. The demolition of the old Mahou Brewery vacants a large urban plot and the cease of activity at the Vicente-Calderón stadium for the transfer of Atlético de Madrid Football Club to Wanda Stadium Metropolitan has set in motion a potential closeout of the old venue for future development.
In November 2016, the owners of both sites delivered a proposal for residential development in the Mahou-Calderón area. The General Plan of Madrid (PGOUM 97), established in 1997, does not respond fully to the context of the future development. Several modifications of the Plan (MPG) have been proposed to fix the conditions for the development.
From December 2017, Madrid City Council has agreed on a valid MPG. This modification rises after a participation process that balances between the interests of the owners and the citizens’ demands and always aiming at the general public interest.
OBJECTIVES OF THE MODIFICATION
1) Contribute with this action to the regeneration and urban renewal of a centre with great potential, included in the Madrid Rio Project and the Renovation Plan of the Manzanares River.
2) Generate a unique urban enclave integrated into its environment, that contributes to promote the social and economic transformation of the area.
3) Extend its renovating effect to the area, specifically to the immediate surroundings of the Glorieta de Pirámides and the river margin in the area between Avenida del Manzanares and Paseo de San Illán.
Integration of the morphological solution in the immediate urban context
1) Solve the steep topography of the site (the difference in level between the Plaza de Francisco Morano and Paseo de los Melancólicos in its confluence with San Epifanio street is 22.50 m) by using plots that allow for terraces at different levels.
2) Set similar heights of the new buildings to those of the environment, reaching the greatest heights in the widest streets and in buildings on the park.
3) Historically, public open spaces are more often found in the historical city compared to private open spaces. It is necessary to recover the public space as a place of activity.
4) Continuity of the streets that today make up the blocks of existing buildings. This continuity does not necessarily have to be for traffic. Pedestrian and shared streets can be considered.
5) Assessment of the necessary permeability of the area with the highest urban density (which
concentrates on the old site of the Mahou brewery and existing buildings on the Paseo de los Melancólicos) towards the Madrid Río Park.
6) Complete with buildings the urban section of Paseo de Pontones and the Paseo Imperial, enhancing the urban scene of “calle corredor” of these walks.
Accessibility to the area and continuity of the Madrid Río Park
7) Improve the connectivity and accessibility of the district of Arganzuela and the analysed area.
8) Use of the removal of the Calderón Stadium to allow the effective continuity of Madrid Río Park and provide the whole of the city, and therefore to the area, a new linear park space.
9) Reflection in the new space of the park of the criteria of layout and design that the existing park has produced along the Manzanares River.
Permeability of the Madrid River Park towards the center of the city, becoming an structuring axis
1) The presence of educational and residential buildings on the Paseo de los Melancólicos entails a certain barrier for the potential connection of Madrid Río Park with the new neighborhood west of the site. However, the extension of the park to the Plaza de Francisco Morano is an essential element to articulate the urban connection and the richness of the architectural scene of the whole scheme.
2) Enhance the mix of uses and activities with the incorporation of new uses, achieving a balance between residential activity and community activity (tertiary-commercial, leisure, cultural), with the park as a way of connection and space of coexistence between different uses.
Solution to the demands for extending the educational centers on the site and forecast of new service facilities
Direct the design towards the use rational use the environmental potential
1) Layout of the buildings along a north-south axis to provide east-west facing dwellings.
2) Design of complex volumetries of buildings to improve the sunning conditions of the inner courtyards of the plots.
3) Establishment in the section of the new streets with double tree planting lines on the south and west facades of the buildings.
Alison Brooks MCH Workshop was held in Madrid, from Monday 2nd of July to Friday 7th of July 2018.