7/10 - Bella Burge's identity is the seventh to be interpreted, courtesy of Aros Architects

Interpreted Identity: Bella Burge
Architects: Aros Architects
Showcased at: The Marlborough Sports Garden, Union Street, SE1
Exhibited: 01 - 30 June

As part of Interpreted Identities, for the London Festival of Architecture which runs through all of June, Aros Architects has interpreted the identity of Bella Burge.

Known as "Bella of Blackfriars," Bella Burge ran a boxing ring, locally called, "The Ring," she inherited from her late husband Dick Burge. Burge was a former music hall performer and she ran The Ring for 25 years after her husband's death. Using money made from her time as a performer (under the stage name of Bella Lane, she fitted out The Ring in 1910.

"We chose Bella Burge as the inspiration for our folly because ‘The Ring’ is affectionately known to us at Aros, though admittedly it is more the local pub namesake - a favourite watering hole after a busy day in the studio," said Aros Architects. "We love the connection of Bella Burge’s Music Hall history and her involvement with ‘The Ring’ boxing club – from one type of stage to another – and we felt it fitting to celebrate her with a further ‘platform’ for this year’s LFA."

The design of the Aros folly plays on the idea of ‘The Ring’ - in this case, Bella Burge’s boxing ring - as a stage or platform, which is also a nod to Bella’s history of performing in music halls. "Inspired by the stripped back art of boxing, our appropriately coloured red ‘ring’ starts from a simple cubic shape," Aros added. The form has been adapted to create a raised platform with two elevated seats, promoted through subtle illumination, for friendly conversation or duelled debate! The ascension, in turn, creates further stepped seating for those who would rather sit on the sidelines and get a different perspective. Indeed the folly can be used in a number of ways – sit, stand or lie down (but don’t get knocked out!) 

“It’s fantastic to see the new Marlborough Sports Garden being used for this design challenge” said Tim Wood, Chair of BOST. “It's also been wonderful working alongside the LFA to celebrate these unsung local heroes whose stories we are proud to tell.”

Each day we will be showcasing a ‘folly’, so watch this space for the reveals and of course come and see all ten from 01 June - 30 June.

To find out more about the Interpreted Identities design challenge, click here.

For more information on the designers or follies please contact: Concrete Communications olivia@concretecomms.com

About Aros Architects

Since day one, in 2001, our solutions for new homes, workplaces and hotels have responded to the unique combination of client, context and purpose. Aros produces architecture that works. It works for clients, for users, for the environment, for passers-by and the community. Our aim is to add value, and as designers we aim to produce architecture of value, too.

There are no preconceptions, no pre-determined ideas, no signature style.


Olivia Mudie