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The Brooking goes to Venice

20th April 2014 Announcement.

The Brooking Collection has been invited to take part in the prestigious 2014 Architecture Biennale in Venice. This 14th  International Architecture Exhibition focuses on the Fundamentals and the Brooking's contribution is at the heart of this in the  “Elements of Architecture” theme, located in the Central Pavilion. A video features preparations for the event.

Rem Koolhaas the acclaimed international architect was invited to be the Director for the 2014 event. He explains that “Elements of Architecture, in the Central Pavilion, will pay close attention to the fundamentals of our buildings, used by any architect, anywhere, anytime: the floor, the wall, the ceiling, the roof, the door, the window, the façade, the balcony, ....”.

With its unrivalled range of material demonstrating the history of the window over the last four centuries, the Brooking Collection is able to make an outstanding contribution to the success of the event.

Charles Brooking, the Collection's founder, says “This is a major step forward for the Collection, moving it from the national level in Britain, on to an international stage.”

The 14th International Architecture Exhibition will take place from 7 June to 23 November 2014 at the Giardini and Arsenale venues and in various other sites in Venice.

Collection cross-section at Olympia

The Brooking Collection at Olympia’s  provided a substantial display at Listed Property Show on 15th &16th February this year, where he has been exhibiting for over ten years at the invitation of the organisers. The stand generated much interest with a constant stream of visitors, whether owners of listed buildings, architects and other professionals and a variety of craftsmen.

A cross-section of what The Collection is about was a central theme of the stand. ‘The aim is to highlight what the whole philosophy is, and how it can help the general public,’ said Charles Brooking. ‘So it will be aimed at people who have properties, and want to learn more about them.’

New Trust

The  new charitable trust set up to run The Collection held its first meeting during February, at the offices of the law firm Morgan Lewis - with a rather fine view of St. Paul’s Cathedral. The new trust is THE BROOKING NATIONAL ARCHITECTURAL MUSEUM TRUST Registered Charity Number 1155363, replacing the Brooking Architectural Museum Trust, Registered Charity No. 294368

The Collection has loaned a window to the Portsmouth City Museum for their exhibition Tricorn: Controversy in Concrete (15th March 2014 - 29th June 2014). The window  is one of several removed from the Tricorn Shopping Centre during its demolition in 2004. The exhibition marks the tenth anniversary of  the demolition. The windows features in a short video on the launch event for the exhibition.

Tricorn window loan

Time travel

CHANGES TO a church have brought a chance to take The Collection forward to a new generation of interest, according to Charles Brooking.

Architect Robert Potter, who came from Guildford in Surrey and died in 2010, was well known for his work on churches. Now one of his designs, the Baptist Church in Guildford, is undergoing alterations – and Charles has already begun recovery of early aluminium windows and door furniture typical of its period. The Rescue will move on to balustrades, doors and so on as the work proceeds.

‘This building was one of Potter’s classics, and the people there have been very helpful,’ says Charles. And he adds that it brings a chance to include artefacts that move The Collection forward in time.

‘In the broadest sense The Collection runs to 1960,’ says Charles. ‘But it’s increasingly put to me that later buildings are interesting in their own right, and some of them are being listed. I’ve been encouraged to feel it’s worth starting to include buildings into the 1970s.’

Links with the 20th Century Society have helped, he says. ‘It would be right to say they’ve influenced my thinking. We have a new generation coming along, and they have their own story. History moves on, and we should follow that movement.’

Home knowing

A NEW series of Continuous Professional Development Courses is to be staged around The Collection – to suit audiences from planning, architecture, design and historical backgrounds as well as home-owners wishing to look after their period homes.

The series of half-day courses starts in late spring/early summer 2014 at the Trust’s meeting room in Surrey, and will involve small groups. Specifically tailored to individual needs, the focus will be on identifying architectural features from around 1690 to 1939.

‘If you own a house of, say, 1760, and want to learn more about the windows, staircases and fittings, we can adapt the course to you,’ he explains. ‘It won’t demand specialist knowledge, and will give a direct “hands-on” experience of The Collection, with notes.’

To find out more visit the Contact page.                                 

THE BROOKING Collection has in the past loaned pieces from its reserve collection for display and interest raising in foyers and meeting areas of relevant institutions. At present the architects Purcell show a vignette of the Brooking Collection to stimulate interest. This facility can be made available for other high profile venues.

Roving displays

8th June, 2014 Announcement.

Charles Brooking has attended the very successful launch of the14th Architecture Biennale in Venice. A team of supporters and sponsors went with him. They took some of the strain of dealing with the high level of interest that his 'wall of windows' generated from across the globe.

The eye-catching display has proved to be popular with the press. It featured widely on the web even before the event had opened. There are some links below (not all in English) to look at, as well as a video.

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Venice “Wall of Windows” visits Brighton

A key display from the prestigious Venice Architecture Biennale is being exhibited at the Brighton University Gallery. The Venice Biennale is the World's leading exhibition for architecture and in 2014 its Curator the internationally renowned architect Rem Koolhaas addressed the “Fundamentals” of architecture – from ceilings to corridors.

But it was the “Wall of Windows” provided by the Brooking National Collection, that captured the imagination of tens of thousands of visitors, and it became very much the face of the Biennale.

Through the local support in Brighton for the Brooking National Collection, the Arts and Humanities Faculty of Brighton University has been able secure the display that featured in Venice as the launch of the “Wall of Windows” in Britain.

This free-standing version of the display, called “Elements of Architecture 'Wall of Windows'” is in the University's Gallery on Grand Parade from 9th March to 10th April.

“Elements of Architecture - Exhibition”  

to Saturday 25 April, 2015 see Cranleigh Arts Centre. It culminates on 25th April with a talk “In conversation with Charles Brooking”.

2015 and earlier announcements

In December 2015 Charles Brooking was invited to Amsterdam for the launch of the second edition of the magazine MacGuffin, The Life of Things. This new publication explores our relationship with everyday items, and this edition was entitled The Window. Having met Charles at the Venice Biennale, editors in chief Kirsten Alegera and Ernst van der Hoeven visited him and the Museum and were overwhelmed by both the beauty of the museum’s Collection and Charles's passion for each and every object. Not only was Charles interviewed for the magazine but he was also invited to attend the launch as guest of honour.

Whilst he was there Charles was interviewed by local radio host Robert van Altena to expand further on why he collects what he does and the importance of developing the Collection into a leading educational resource. The full interview can be heard here

For more information on McGuffin, The Life of Things please visit or to purchase a copy of the magazine please go to