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Alison Smithson

English architect Alison Smithson (1928-1993) formed an architectural partnership with her husband Peter, and is often associated with the Brutalist style.

Smithson was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. While studying architecture at Durham University (1939-1942), she met Smithson, who she married in 1949. Together, they joined the architecture department of the London County Council before establishing their own partnership in 1950.

Their style draws heavily on influences from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, leaning towards minimalism. They were associated Team 10 and its 1953 revolt against old Congrès International d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM) philosophies, arguing instead for 'streets in the sky' where inhabitants could live and work, and with the Independent Group (an off-shoot of the Institute of Contemporary Arts}.

Their projects included:

Unfortunately, Robin Hood Gardens suffered from structural problems and high levels of crime, fatally undermining both their progressive vision of 'streets in the sky' and their architectural reputation. With the exception of their work at Bath, they designed no further public buildings in Britain, relying instead mainly on private overseas commissions, and Peter Smithson’s writing and teaching (he was a visiting professor at Bath from 1978 to 1990).

Alison Smithson died in 1993.