MSA Awards 2023 – Judge Announced

MSA Awards 2023 – Judge Announced

Alison Brooks

Alison Brooks will be this year’s judge of the Manchester Society of Architects Awards and we couldn’t be move thrilled!

Alison Brooks is one of the UK’s most highly awarded and internationally acclaimed architects. Raised in Welland and Guelph in Ontario, she studied architecture at the University of Waterloo before moving to the UK in 1988. Since founding her practice in 1996 she has emerged as one of the UK’s most inventive architects with works encompassing urban design and housing, higher education buildings, private houses and public buildings for the arts. In addition to receiving over 70 awards for design achievement she is the only UK architect to have received all of the RIBA’s most prestigious architectural awards: the Stirling Prize, the Manser Medal (twice), RIBA House of the Year 2020 and the Stephen Lawrence Prize.

Alison Brooks’ architectural approach springs from invested research into specific geographies, climate and cultures of each project so that her design solutions to emerge as both unique and relevant to the constituencies they serve. This is beautifully exemplified by her recently completed Cohen Quadrangle at Exeter College, Oxford. The first Oxford College to be designed by a female architect, this building demonstrates the conceptual rigour, sculptural qualities and ingenious detailing that is her practice trademark.

Alison has dedicated much of her professional career to housing design and has completed over 1000 dwellings across the UK, including the Stirling Prize-winning Accordia, Cambridge; Stirling Prize-shortlisted Newhall Be; and Mies EU Award finalist Ely Court in London. Recent high-profile commissions include mixed-use, high density urban developments in London, Vancouver and Toronto.

In the arts and education sector she is currently designing an Entrance Building and Literature Centre for Homerton College Cambridge and an art museum and study centre for one Cambridge’s oldest Colleges. Her cultural projects include the Folkestone Performing Arts Centre and the Smile, the world-famous timber pavilion for the 2016 London Design Festival. In 2022 her practice attained 2nd place in the international competition for the London School of Economics Firoz Llalji Global Hub.

Alison has become a public voice for the profession advocating the role of women in architecture, the resurgence of building craft and the value of timber as an expressive, low carbon building technology. In 2012 she was awarded BD Architect of the Year. She was subsequently awarded 2013 AJ Woman Architect of the Year in recognition of her work in housing, regeneration and education.  In 2017 Alison was appointed Royal Designer for Industry by the Royal Society of Arts; London Mayor’s Design Advocate and AJ 100 Contribution to the Profession Award. In 2020 her practice was awarded Dezeen Architect of the Year and BD Housing Architect of the Year.

Alison Brooks has contributed to architectural education for over fifteen years as External Examiner for University of Central London, University of Bath, University of Lincoln and the Architectural Association. She taught a Diploma School Unit at the Architectural Association Diploma School from 2008-2010 and served as External Examiner from 2016-2019.  In 2018 Alison was appointed as the John T. Dunlop Design Critic in Architecture at Harvard GSD.  Since 2018 she has been Visiting Professor for the Masters in Collective Housing at ETSAM, Universidad Politécnica of Madrid. Alison is currently the Gensler Visiting Critic at Cornell’s AAP School and was awarded the Bethune Award by the University at Buffalo. Alison lectures internationally on architecture and urban design and serves on numerous international design competition juries.

In 2014 Alison was awarded an Alumni Achievement Award by the University of Waterloo, followed by a 2016 Doctorate of Engineering (Hon Causa).


2022 RIBA South Building of the Year Cohen Quad Exeter College

2021 RIBA House of the Year Windward House

2021 RIBA National Award Windward House

2021 HDA Building with Nature Knight’s Park

2020 BHA Sustainable Development of the Year Knight’s Park

2020 Architect of the Year Dezeen

2020 Housing Architect of the Year BD/AYA

Are Architects made under pressure? – An Open Discussion about resilience

Are Architects made under pressure?

Do Architecture schools prepare you for the real world? We invite you to an open discussion about resilience and Architecture across all stages of your career. 
The Manchester Society of Architects (MSA) have collaborated with the MSADU and MSA&U to facilitate this well needed discourse that will promote awareness of the need to prioritise mental health and wellbeing in architectural education and practice.

Time: 5.30pm
Location: 403 Benzie Building
Tickets are not required for this event 

New Sponsor – Solus

Manchester Society of Architects is pleased to announce a new sponsorship partnership with Solus Ceramics.

“As new sponsors of the Manchester Society of Architects, Solus Ceramics will engage productively and to mutual benefit with the Architecture and Design community of Manchester.  

As well as supplying high quality ceramic, porcelain and stone materials, Solus offers RIBA-accredited CPDs, PTV Slip resistance testing, EPD and sustainability documents along with specification writing services. We advocate for sustainable building practices and work with manufacturers who take social and environmental responsibilities seriously. Our team will provide you with support at every stage; from design, to delivery, to installation, to aftercare. We want to become Manchester’s preferred supplier and we believe we have the quality of service this great city demands. 

We look forward to supporting the MSA and its members with Solus Sessions, our productive-learning and idea-sharing events. Artists, artisans, and designers have created a menu of guided experiences that you can enjoy as an individual or with your teams. Watch this space for more information.”

Mark Atherton, Head of Regional Sales at Solus Ceramics

Beer, food, music and CPD – The perfect learning environment!

Quantum Profile Systems Ltd hosted its first ever Building Product Specification Afternoon and Beer Festival on Thursday 14th July 2022, in proud partnership with Manchester Society of Architects.

The event was a great success, with a wide range of building product manufacturers offering their expertise via an exhibition and in 6 micro-CPD sessions. All Architects and Specifiers in attendance were also welcomed to an RIBA accredited tour of the QPSL factory, showcasing Lean manufacturing in action.

After the CPDs and factory tours throughout the afternoon, those in attendance were invited to stay at the QPSL site for food, drink and live music in the evening. There were a wide range of craft beers on offer, along with wines and spirits, and fantastic food including beef brisket and pulled pork.

“It was the perfect combination of food, fun and learning, our members thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere” Rob McGinnes President, Manchester Society of Architects.

QPSL and MSA would like to thank all those who came to the event, we hope everybody enjoyed themselves as much as we did! Many thanks also to the manufacturers who shared their expert knowledge on the day:

1. Quantum Flooring – Stair Nosings, Entrance Matting & Flooring Accessories
2. Dacatie – Cavity Closers & Fire Barriers
3. Altro – Floorcoverings
4. Teknos – Paints & Coatings
5. Uzin Utz – Adhesives & Screeds
6. Contract Flooring Association – Flooring Trade body
7. British Woodworking Federation – Timber Industry Trade body
8. SpecifiedBy – Specification Directory
9. Tarkett – Floorcoverings
10. West-Port – Timber Windows & Doors
11. PDS – Doorsets & Fire Doors
12. Xtratherm – Insulation & Enveloping Solutions
13. Forbo – Floorcoverings
14. OH Industri – Door Panels and Door Blanks

MSA Award Winners 2022


Judge’s Comments

01 Commercial unbuilt

Winner: Coal Chutes

Although set in the commercial category, the project explicitly puts the community first. It operates according to the architect’s 5 sustainable de-growth principles that align perfectly with the client’s aspiration to have a light, locally sourced, affordable workspace scheme. We commend the project for its successful efforts in thoroughly implementing local materials, reusing existing structures and providing ample space for the community to inhabit with their own activity.


02 Commercial built

Winner: First White Cloth Hall

The project incorporates a listed heritage building which is restored, repaired and extended. The new additions present a clear hierarchy between the old and the new. The contemporary does not override the existing but ensures equal dignity, highlighting the monumental and the original. In this way, the new provides knowledge of the past.


03 Multi-residential Unbuilt

Winner: Phoenix Works

The project has a compact, clean, simple internal scheme and elegant appearance. The unit floorplans are functionally well resolved. Particularly impressive are the collective spaces and amenities. The attention to their design results in a high-quality domestic environment that enhances a sense of community. Additionally, the quality materialisation of the interior and the façade with the bay windows exude exceptional dignity and appeal.


04 Multi residential Built

Winner: Campus East Gateway Student Residences, University of York

The building is well embedded in the campus and its landscape. The attention given to framing the views and enhancing the relationship with the surrounding pastoral landscape is a remarkable feat. The architectural expression is clear and rational, and the material detailing in brick and concrete gives it refined sophistication. 


05 One off unbuilt

Winner: Moor House

The category was full of high-quality projects, but this project stood out with its soft and almost dreamy presentation that immediately communicates the house’s atmosphere. The project draws from the local vernacular architecture and does so in a sensible yet contemporary way, resulting in a rich mixture of materials, textures and light. Even in this design phase, it shows attention to detail expected from later execution stages. The functional distribution in the floor plan is well resolved. 


06 One off unbuilt

Winner: Project 465 The Firs Bowdon

The family house extension presents itself well to the public through an elegant elevation from the street. The sleek gabled volume clad in dark brick on top of a concrete base is a simple yet powerful gesture, brilliantly attached to the old structure with a refined glass link.


07 Community unbuilt

Winner: The Iron

An appealing architectural folly that sits beautifully in the landscape. Its complexity is hidden in the execution, which we hope to encourage by giving this accolade. Achieving the wanted texture, sloping of the walls, as well as the sharpness of the edges is quite a feat in construction—an extremely promising project.


08 Community built

Winner: Yoko Ono Lennon Centre

The distribution of spaces is brilliant – stacking the auditoriums results in a compact footprint and allows for a good connection with the campus. The appearance of the Centre is fitting to its programme – it is immediately recognisable by the brick colour and intricate details but imposing in the simplicity of the overall volume.


09 Small project

Winner: Photographers studio

As an annexe to the main house, the studio assumes its character in the same material and volume. However, detailing and appearance communicate the presence of a contemporary aesthetic, both on the outside and inside. Extremely well executed.


10 Future Architect

Winner: Benjamin Carter

The selected project balances well between the ever-present economic and environmental demands for reinvention and retention. The design chooses to diversify the homogeneity of the existing camps by bringing in new functions complementary to the existing architectural typologies. New additions are placed where necessary and coherently connect to the existing complex. Seeing this level of mature thinking and presentation at a student level is impressive.



Beer and Building Product Specification Festival

MSA Sponsors Dacatie (Quantum Profile Systems Ltd) is hosting a unique FREE event for Architects and Specifiers on Thursday 14th July 2022, from 3pm until 10.30pm. It will give those in attendance the chance to learn about the very latest building product developments in the construction industry, and enjoy an evening of networking. Free transport will also be available to and from Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

There will be an afternoon of focused RIBA CPDs, an RIBA accredited Lean factory tour, and an exhibition from leading building product manufacturers. There will also be a free bar and hog roast (plus veggie option) in the evening.

Several leading building product manufacturers will be offering 20-minute-long, focused CPDs which will earn CPD points for our guests. Attendees will be offered an RIBA assessed tour of QPSL’s factory, which will allow them to observe its Lean manufacturing techniques in practice. There will also be an exhibition area where you can speak directly to a range of manufacturers.

In the evening there will be a selection of drinks available at the free bar. Guests will be served a buffet, the centrepiece of which will be a whole hog roast with all the trimmings. There will also be vegan and vegetarian options available.

Entertainment will be provided by live performances from various musical artists including Pressure Drop, a Manchester-based Reggae and Ska street band. For those who would like to take advantage of the refreshments, free transport is available on the day. There will be a bus to pick people up from the Northern Quarter in Manchester at 2.15pm and to drop people back there at 10.30pm.

Book your FREE place today –

The following companies will be exhibiting:

1. Quantum Flooring – Stair nosing, entrance matting & flooring accessories
2. Dacatie – Cavity closers & fire barriers
3. Altro – Floorcoverings
4. Teknos – Paints & coatings
5. Uzin Utz – Adhesives & Screeds
6. Contract Flooring Association – Flooring Trade body
7. British Woodworking Federation – Timber Industry Trade body
8. SpecifiedBy – Specification Directory
9. Tarkett – Floorcoverings
10. West-Port – Timber windows & Doors
11. PDS – Doorsets & Fire doors
12. Xtratherm – Insulation & Enveloping solutions


What is the running order for the event?
• 2.15pm – Coach departs from Northern Quarter
• 2.30pm – Registration and refreshments
• 3pm – First CPD and first factory tour
• 5.30pm – Bar opens
• 6pm –Live music begins
• 6.30pm – Hog Roast opens
• 10.30pm – Finish and Coach departs from QPSL

How do I get there?
You can hop on the free coach, which will depart the Northern Quarter at 2.15pm on the day of the event – there will also be a return coach later in the evening.

How do I book a place to attend?
Book your place here:

New Year Message from the President

Dear Colleagues and Friends.

A New Year beckons, so it is a great time to share our vision for your Society and upcoming activities for 2022.

The past two years have been tumultuous and difficult, causing a decrease in face-to-face events, but we were delighted at the enthusiasm and high attendance for the Awards, lectures and Barbecue and we really appreciate your support. We know there is a desire for friends and colleagues to meet, share stories and enjoy each other’s company and we intend to fulfil that desire wherever possible, be it digitally or physically.

We will be focusing on creating more and better activities that our members can enjoy. In fact, our theme for 2022 is all about growth.

Growth in membership, growth in engagement with our members, growth in the range and variety of activities that we offer, growth in celebration of our members’ achievements as individuals and practices. Growth in knowledge to meet the challenges that face our profession in times to come. Growth in inspiring lectures by leaders in their fields and emerging stars, coupled with hands-on experience for our members joining the profession.

And last but not least, growth in fun and enjoyment.

Our mission is:

‘To champion and nurture the present and future architects of Manchester’


To help us achieve this goal, we need:

Enthusiastic and engaged members of our council – if you have a passion to get involved and help our members, join us.

Members who are willing to share with people who don’t know our work. Help spread the word. 

Ideas to improve our work and activity, tell us the kind of things you’d like to see.

Help us by supporting our sponsors – host a practice CPD or check out the useful content on our Knowledge Hub.

Please get in touch with us and help us to help you!



Happy New Year! And watch this space for further exciting news!


Rob McGinnes,
MSA President & Founder of  Hive Architects

New Jobs Platform

MSA launches new jobs listing platform for the architects and practices of Manchester

To support our members – the architects and practices of Manchester, we have launched a FREE careers listing platform on the MSA website. 

We hope this platform will become the go-to place for architect jobs in Manchester. Click the image above to see the message from MSA President, Nick Moss. If you have questions or would like more information then please contact Nick directly at  



See the latest jobs here:

MSA Awards

MSA Awards

The awards event will be back in June 2021. There will be 14 unique award categories, ranging from commercial and community to built and unbuilt. This exact details will be confirmed in due course. 


2019 Judge and Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Norman Foster

In 2019, we were honoured to have Lord Norman Foster judge our awards and accept the MSA Lifetime Achievement Award, probably the only award he’d yet to win! Here he is, accepting his award and explaining his personal connection to our great city:


In light of the current crisis, the 2020 awards event will be postponed until the 19th November 2020, where we hope to celebrate the true quality of our community’s work as well as a return to normality. Watch the highlights from our 2019 awards evening and see what to expect: