RIBA Stirling Prize 2017: Hastings Pier crowned UK's best new building

Structure on the East Sussex coast described by judges as a 'phoenix risen from the ashes'

Sherna Noah
Wednesday 01 November 2017 02:35
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Hastings Pier in Sussex, which has won the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize
Hastings Pier in Sussex, which has won the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize

A pier rebuilt after a devastating fire has been crowned the UK's best new building.

Dating from 1872, Hastings Pier was ravaged by fire in 2010 and had closed two years earlier because of storm damage.

The structure, on the East Sussex coast and overlooking the English Channel, was rebuilt and has been described by judges as a "phoenix risen from the ashes".

Designed by dRMM Architects, it has been awarded this year's RIBA Stirling Prize by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

RIBA president and prize jury chairman Ben Derbyshire praised the structure as 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," he said.

"Local people" had "taken the initiative, and risk, to create this highly innovative and extraordinary new landmark".

The new structure contains timber reclaimed from the original pier and has scorched wood cladding on its visitor centre, which has a viewing deck.

After the fire, residents and supporters wanted to use the disaster to reimagine the structure, once famous for its musical acts.

An RIBA design competition attracted entries from around the world.

The project was partly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and crowdfunding, with 3,000 shareholders buying a stake in the project at £100 a share.

The 19th-century structural iron work, hidden below deck, has been restored and strengthened and the surviving Victorian Pavilion, one of two buildings on the site, is now an open plan, glazed cafe-bar, with the deck set aside for large-scale concerts, markets and public gatherings.

The RIBA also announced that the 2017 Stephen Lawrence Prize, for experimental architectural talent, has been awarded to a "spectacular home" dubbed The Houseboat.

Conceived as two upturned hulls propped together, it faces the sea over Poole Harbour.

The Stephen Lawrence Prize was first awarded in 1998 in memory of Stephen Lawrence, who was taking steps to become an architect before he was murdered in 1993.

Bedales School in Hampshire won a separate prize, RIBA client of the year, for its Art and Design Building.

PA

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