Architecture

Risen from the ashes: Hastings Pier declared Britain's best new build

Risen from the ashes: Hastings...
dRMM architects took a contemporary, less-is-more approach to the Hastings Pier project
dRMM architects took a contemporary, less-is-more approach to the Hastings Pier project
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dRMM architects took a contemporary, less-is-more approach to the Hastings Pier project
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dRMM architects took a contemporary, less-is-more approach to the Hastings Pier project
Following a competition, dRMM architects was tasked with Hastings Pier's regeneration
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Following a competition, dRMM architects was tasked with Hastings Pier's regeneration
Hastings Pier's visitor's center is made from reclaimed wood scorched by the previous fire
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Hastings Pier's visitor's center is made from reclaimed wood scorched by the previous fire
Hastings Pier suffered a period of closure following storm damage and then a major fire all but destroyed it in 2010
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Hastings Pier suffered a period of closure following storm damage and then a major fire all but destroyed it in 2010
A surviving building on Hastings Pier has been turned into an open plan, glazed café-bar
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A surviving building on Hastings Pier has been turned into an open plan, glazed café-bar
Hastings Pier's 19th century structural iron work, hidden from view below deck, has been completely restored and strengthened
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Hastings Pier's 19th century structural iron work, hidden from view below deck, has been completely restored and strengthened
dRMM architects employed a less-is-more approach and arranged the pier primarily as a large open space, with the focus on views of the English Channel
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dRMM architects employed a less-is-more approach and arranged the pier primarily as a large open space, with the focus on views of the English Channel
Hastings Pier's surviving building, the Victorian Pavilion, has been turned into an open plan, glazed café-bar
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Hastings Pier's surviving building, the Victorian Pavilion, has been turned into an open plan, glazed café-bar
"Hastings Pier is a masterpiece of regeneration and inspiration. The architects and local community have transformed a neglected wreck into a stunning, flexible new pier to delight and inspire visitors and local people," says RIBA President and RIBA Stirling Prize Jury Chair, Ben Derbyshire
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"Hastings Pier is a masterpiece of regeneration and inspiration. The architects and local community have transformed a neglected wreck into a stunning, flexible new pier to delight and inspire visitors and local people," says RIBA President and RIBA Stirling Prize Jury Chair, Ben Derbyshire

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the winner of this year's Stirling Prize, the UK's most prestigious architecture award. London-based dRMM architects got the nod for its excellent work on Hastings Pier: a flexible public space in East Sussex that involved rebuilding a 19th Century pier previously damaged by fire.

The original Hastings Pier first opened back in 1872, proving to be a popular destination for families. It has also hosted high-profile acts over the years, like the Rolling Stones, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and the Sex Pistols. During World War II, it served as a training area for troops.

Following a period of neglect, the pier closed due to storm damage, then a major fire all but destroyed it in 2010. However, locals rallied around and raised money to save it, even going so far as to convince 3,000 shareholders to buy a stake in the pier at £100 (roughly US$133) a share.

dRMM architects took a contemporary, less-is-more approach to the project. Rather than the busy collection of huts and small buildings one might expect to find on a British pier, visitors are greeted with a large open space and the focus is firmly on the view of the English Channel.

With only two permanent buildings, the pier's vast open deck serves as a flexible area suitable for large-scale concerts, temporary markets, and public gatherings.

Hastings Pier's visitor's center is made from reclaimed wood scorched by the previous fire
Hastings Pier's visitor's center is made from reclaimed wood scorched by the previous fire

The pier's structural iron supports, hidden from view below deck, have been restored and strengthened. A surviving building was turned into an open plan café-bar, while a new timber-clad visitors center was constructed in the middle of the pier. The visitor's center includes a viewing point and is clad in reclaimed wood that's visibly scorched, providing a nice visual connection to its history.

Reclaimed timber was also used to make the pier's new furniture and was manufactured as part of a local employment initiative. This really is a project that benefits the entire community.

"Hastings Pier is a masterpiece of regeneration and inspiration," says RIBA President and RIBA Stirling Prize Jury Chair, Ben Derbyshire. "The architects and local community have transformed a neglected wreck into a stunning, flexible new pier to delight and inspire visitors and local people.

Hastings Pier showcases the remarkable skills, tenacity and problem-solving flair of its talented architects, dRMM. It also rewards the patrons of this great architectural achievement: the local people who have taken the initiative, and risk, to create this highly innovative and extraordinary new landmark. I am delighted to award the 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize to the people's pier."

Source: RIBA

2 comments
Alien
Oh well... they say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
JimFox
Imagine the usual windswept wet British summer- that open decking will look abandoned.