Practice Profile: Cove Burgess

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

This exhibition celebrates the identity of ten extraordinary women who have taken bold steps to make a difference in shaping the future social, architectural or urban environment of their local communities and beyond; whilst inspiring new generations. 

Many of these extraordinary women worked and lived in this local area. These installations celebrate community and architecture in union on Union Street - London SE1.

We spoke to London studio, Cove Burgess, who has interpreted the identity of Octavia Hill (more about her here), to find out more about the firm and the reason why it chose Octavia.

Why did you choose your extraordinary woman?
Octavia Hill championed many values we admire. We chose to focus on her love and advocacy of green and public spaces. Octavia’s role in protecting public green spaces is still felt today, be it on a small scale through individual parks she helped preserve and create through her activism, which eventually led to the 1956 Clean Air Act 3, and the creation of the National Trust. The footprint of our ‘folly’ represents the area of public green space, made available for each individual in Bankside, cared for by Bankside Open Spaces Trust. 

The aim is to show the viewer what is effectively their small portion of publicly-owned space, as well as highlighting its fragility in hard surroundings of the installation site. We felt Octavia Hill had deep roots in this area, having created open spaces in Bankside. This social inclusion resonated with us and we saw it as something we could get behind. 

What is your practice best known for?
Creating value for our property professional clients as well as a thoughtful and progressive approach to the city and its context. 

What is on the drawing board?
A new build residential in Brighton. This is a curated building with lots of active use on the ground floor. Another is a masterplan in Kent based on Garden City principles.

What is your favourite Cove Burgess project?
A media fit-out scheme in London. For this project, we had perfect synergy with the client for who we were able to create a flexible and bespoke space for.

How does your folly reflect the approach of Cove Burgess?
This project was a genuine collaboration with our partners and the folly we arrived at was only possible with other people. We love the fact that this story can only be told once. We didn't go into the project with an idea so instead approached Pentagon Tiles and Raw Bonsai to see what was possible. The folly is the simplest, strongest, solution. There are no spare parts, no wastage.

Cove Burgess Architects is a London-based architecture practice who work with funds, property managers and developers to enhance the value of their assets. They make simple, strong and beautiful architecture, that achieves more with less.

Cove Burgess Architects
Studio 11
6-8 Cole Street
London SE1 4YH

020 3758 7050

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

Olivia Mudie