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Hastings Pier

Community-led regeneration

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Client: Hastings Pier Charity
Status: Completed 2016
Location: Hastings
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Type/Sector: Cultural, Leisure
Tagged: Collaboration, Engineered Timber, Re-use, Sustainability Exemplars

Collaborators

Multidisciplinary Engineering Ramboll
Cost Consultant PT Projects
CLT Supplier KLH
Visitor Centre Contractor Strata
Steelwork Contractor FPE Global
Decking Contractor Timbercraft UK
Furniture Design dRMM & Bexhill Wood Recycling

Hastings Pier is a national treasure brought back to life. It reimagines the Victorian pleasure pier as a sustainable, flexible platform able to accommodate a broad range of community and commercial uses. It was also winner of the 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize, the UK’s top architecture award.

Collaborators

Multidisciplinary Engineering Ramboll
Cost Consultant PT Projects
CLT Supplier KLH
Visitor Centre Contractor Strata
Steelwork Contractor FPE Global
Decking Contractor Timbercraft UK
Furniture Design dRMM & Bexhill Wood Recycling
01 Fire and rebirth

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Hastings Pier had acted as a melting pot, where people from all walks of life could mingle and mix.

When fire tore through the Pier in 2010, many of the residents wept at the loss of a much-loved ‘daughter’ of the town.

But thanks to the resolve of the Hastings Pier Charity, working with Hastings Borough Council and English Heritage, funding was secured to rebuild the landmark structure.

Our approach was to develop the project with the people of Hastings through a series of participation events and workshops. We discovered a community that was individualistic and eclectic but with a proud shared identity embodied in the pier.

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We asked people what they wanted from the pier and they wrote down their wishes.
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02 Sustainable and flexible

We took the opportunity to redefine what a pier could be in the 21st century by creating a strong, well-serviced platform that is sustainable and flexible.

The new pier can support endless uses, from big-top circus to major music events, local fishing to international markets.

The majority of the £11.4 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund funded below deck repairs and replaced the deck and balustrades. Further funding of £1.2 million facilitated two buildings: the existing Victorian Pavilion which we transformed into an open-plan, fully-glazed restaurant, and the new visitor centre.

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The timbers from the original landing stage are visible from the end of the pier.
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03 Creative use of timber

The new visitor centre is a 100 percent cross laminated timber structure, clad in the limited timber decking that survived the 2010 fire.

Replacing the weakest central section of the damaged pier, the visitor centre offers adaptable space for events, exhibitions and education, with an elevated rooftop belvedere. Reclaimed timber deck furniture was designed by us and Hastings & Bexhill Wood Recycling as part of a local employment initiative.

Visitor centre north/south elevation
Visitor centre north/south elevation
Visitor centre east elevation
Visitor centre east elevation
04 Walking on water

The pier is an extension of the promenade from which it projects; a large public open space.

The experience of free space and ‘walking on water’ is heightened by the optics of a louvred balustrade design and quality timber deck.

In 2017 the project won the Stirling Prize, but in a twist typical of the turbulent history of piers, the Hastings Pier Charity went into administration. In 2018 it was sold to a local businessman. Despite fears by us and the local community that the introduction of golden hippos and slot machines would diminish its social function, the new pier still stands as a catalyst for urban regeneration. It offers flexibility, material and functional sustainability and uninterrupted vistas out to sea and of a unique seaside town.

Awards

2017
Stirling Prize, RIBA Awards
Winner
2017
Stirling Prize Peoples’ Vote, RIBA Awards
Winner
2017
Pier of the Year, National Pier Society
Winner
2017
National Award, RIBA Awards
Winner
2017
Project Architect of the Year, RIBA South East Award
Winner
2017
Client of the Year, RIBA South East Award
Winner
2017
RIBA South East Award
Winner
2017
Leisure Category, Wood Awards
Highly Commended
2017
Leisure Project of the Year, Structural Timber Awards
Shortlisted

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