The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has awarded the 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize (sponsored by Almacantar) to Hastings Pier by dRMM Architects.
Hastings Pier, on the East Sussex coast, overlooking the English Channel, and charts its history from 1872. For many years it was a popular pleasure pier famous for musical acts before its decline. Closing in 2008 following storm damage, the pier then faced destruction in 2010, when a fire ravaged the entire structure. Fast-forward to 2017 and Hastings Pier is a new, gloriously reimagined structure for all to enjoy again, following a design competition won by dRMM Architects.
The 19th century structural ironwork, hidden below deck, has been painstakingly restored and strengthened following years of neglect, storm and fire damage. The surviving Victorian Pavilion, one of two buildings on the Pier, has been transformed into an open plan, glazed cafe-bar.
The vast pier deck has been set aside as an uninterrupted flexible expanse for large-scale concerts, markets and public gatherings. The new timber-clad visitors centre building in the centre of the pier, has a viewing deck on its roof providing a dramatic space for visitors to experience epic views along the coast and across the English Channel.
The architects have used timber throughout the project, much of it reclaimed from the original pier: the visitors centre makes a feature of its scorched wood cladding. The reclaimed timber has also been used to create the pier’s striking new furniture, manufactured locally as part of a local employment initiative.
RIBA President and RIBA Stirling Prize Jury Chair, Ben Derbyshire, said: “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.
“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.”
Photography by Alex de Rijke