Hastings Pier named UK's best new building

Updated 1st November 2017
Hastings Pier
Credit: Alex de Rijke
Hastings Pier named UK's best new building
Written by Oscar Holland, CNN
A British pier destroyed by a fire in 2010 has been named the UK's best new building after its designers won a competition to redesign the structure. London-based architecture firm dRMM was awarded the coveted Stirling Prize by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Tuesday evening.
dRMM spent several years transforming the Hastings Pier's charred remains into a contemporary community space.
First built in 1872, the original Victorian structure was once a popular seaside attraction. Its pavilion went on to host high-profile concerts -- by artists including Jimmy Hendrix and The Rolling Stones -- through the 1960s and 1970s.
But after suffering significant storm damage and multiple changes of ownership, the pier fell into disrepair and was closed amid safety concerns in 2006. Four years later, it was ravaged by a fire that destroyed the deck and an estimated 95% of its upper structure.
Hoping to revive the pier, RIBA launched a design competition that attracted entries from around the world. Instead of destroying the remains, dRMM's winning design restored and strengthened the surviving ironwork. The new wide wooden deck is expected to host markets, concerts and public events.
The pier is located in the seaside town of Hastings, on England's south coast.
The pier is located in the seaside town of Hastings, on England's south coast. Credit: Francesco Montaguti
Built at a cost of £14.2 million ($18.9 million), the redevelopment was partly financed by local crowdfunding efforts. A total of 3,000 shareholders each bought shares priced at £100 ($133) to help fund the project. The UK's National Lottery also contributed to the costs.
"Hastings Pier is a masterpiece of regeneration and inspiration," said RIBA president and chair of the prize jury, Ben Derbyshire, in a press statement. "The architects and local community have transformed a neglected wreck into a stunning, flexible new pier to delight and inspire visitors and local people."
The RIBA Stirling Prize, now in its 22nd year, is awarded to the best new building in the UK. The pier was shortlisted in July alongside five other buildings, including a redeveloped dockyard in Kent and a new college campus in Glasgow. Previous winners include Norman Foster's 30 St Mary Axe -- also known as The Gherkin -- and the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh.