Practice Profile: Aros

Interpreted Identities features ten installations from architects and artists. For each, designers chose to interpret the identity of an extraordinary woman through architectural means. 

We spoke to London studio, Aros Architects, who has interpreted the identity of Bella Burge (more about her here), to find out more about the firm and the reason why it chose Bella.

Why did you choose your extraordinary woman?
Bella Burge, our extraordinary woman, initially struck a chord 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! But we also identified with her down-to-earth attitude and her commitment to making the boxing ring a place for all. We love the connection of Bella’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.

Bella Burge, born in 1877, developed a love of the stage and was a regular Music Hall Performer before her husband was released from prison. It was only after when they established ‘The Ring’, a popular and well-known boxing venue in London Blackfriars, which she continued to manage after her husband’s death.

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 and named after the original Ring Boxing Club.The design of the Aros folly plays on the idea of the 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’ is formed from a simple cubic shape. 

A raised platform has been created with two elevated seats, for friendly conversation or duelled debate! The ascension creates further stepped seating for those who would rather sit on the side-lines 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!).

What is your practice best known for?
At Aros, we design and build in a wide variety of sectors – mainly residential, hotel, office, workplace interiors and leisure. Aside from Architecture, we’re known for our corporate social responsibility (CSR), particularly in offering work experience opportunities to young people in the area and speaking at local schools, through our involvement with the Construction Youth Trust.

What is on the drawing board?
Currently, we’re looking at a large mixed-use scheme in the Isle of Man, with cinema, hotel, residential and retail; a new hotel in North West London; a residential scheme for the private rental market in North London, and much more!

What is your favourite Aros project?
A large residential scheme on London Road, Hounslow, for our client A2Dominion. The design challenge with this development was to offer a sense of difference and individuality for the occupiers without losing the coherence and identity of the overall scheme. The end-product is a scheme whose visual variety and stepped frontage ensures that it doesn’t overwhelm the streetscape.

How does your folly reflect the approach of Aros?
The Aros ethos comes through in the design of the folly through its playful appearance and the intention for it to be interactive – the folly is about being used and experienced by people and people are at the heart of our business and the buildings we produce as architects. 


About Aros
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.


Aros Architects
Jerwood Space
171 Union Street
London SE1 0LN

 +44(0) 20 7928 2444

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

Olivia Mudie