After a history of devastating fires, the latest incarnation of Hastings Pier by London architects dRMM has won the Stirling Prize for the UK’s best new building. Coined the “architecture Oscars”, the award is considered the most prestigious in the British industry. The pier is clad in timber reclaimed from the previous deck after it was destroyed by fire in 2010, and goes against traditional seaside pier designs by leaving the end free of a pavilion or structure. This open layout has earned it the nickname The Plank.
After the previous pier burned down in 2010, it was bought by the local council and entrusted to the Hastings Pier Charity, which worked with dRMM on its renovation. It was partially funded via a crowdfunding campaign and Heritage Lottery.
“The 2010 destruction of Hastings Pier by fire was an opportunity to redefine what a pier could be in the 21st Century,” dRMM said in a statement, “moving away from the accumulation of commercial booths of poor quality construction.”
Its concept was “not to create the predictable unnecessary hero building at the end, but instead providing open space to allow universal access. The focus was on creating a well-serviced, strong platform that could support a variety of events and uses from circuses to music events, fishing to markets. Different users can bring their own architecture to plug in.”
The RIBA Stirling Prize 2017 shortlist also included Juergen Teller’s photography studio by 6a architects; City of Glasgow College city campus by Reiach & Hall and Michael Laird; the British Museum extension by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners; Command of the Oceans in Chatham Dockyard by Baynes and Mitchell Architects; and Barrett’s Grove housing in Stoke Newington, London by Amin Taha.