The People’s Pier
Destroyed by a fire in 2010 the historic Hastings Pier has been bought back to its full glory, rounded off by winning the accolade of the 2017 RIBA Stirling prize for the best building in the UK.
A departure from the classic British seaside pier, Hastings Pier has been reimagined by London-based architects de Rijke Marsh Morgan and offers striking views of the sea to visitors of the town. The pier, which reopened in Spring 2016, was described by Ben Derbyshire, the RIBA president as a "stunning, flexible new pier" and "a masterpiece of regeneration".
The restoration of the pier cost £14.2m and was paid for through a crowdfunding campaign, as well as aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund. According to the Hastings Pier website the restoration used 50 miles of durable West African, marine-grade Ekki wood planking from renewable sources, 510,000 screws (all added by hand), and 3,000 tonnes of steel to replace 70% of the existing steelwork – showing the sheer extent of the project which has now been dubbed the ‘People’s Pier’.
Hastings Pier has really given the local community something to be proud of, with 3,000 local shareholders owning a £100 stake of the structure.
The minimalistic design acts as a free, public stage above the sea and comprises of the surviving Victorian Pavilion, as well as a new café, community space and viewing deck. The large open space of the pier can also be utilised for events like social gatherings, live music and markets.
The Stirling Prize judges commented of the architects “dRMM’s role has been utterly pivotal in realising this masterpiece of subtle, effortless design. They have driven this project through to completion: campaigning, galvanising and organising local support throughout each aspect of the funding stage. They went above and beyond what most people think of as the role of the architect – and then they kept going.”
Other shortlisted buildings include the redevelopment of Chatham Historic Dockyard, Command of the Oceans by Baynes and Mitchell Architects; the City of Glasgow College City Campus by Reiach & Hall Architects and Michael Laird Architects; and the British Museum World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre by Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners.