London-based architects dRMM have been announced as the winners of the 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize fortheir renovation of Hastings Pier, beating out a shortlist including projects by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners; Baynes and Mitchell Architects; Reiach & Hall Architects and Michael Laird Architects; Groupwork + Amin Taha; and 6a architects.
“Hastings Pier is a masterpiece in 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 alike,” said RIBA President and Stirling Prize jury chair Ben Derbyshire.
Designed as “a strong, well-serviced platform that could support endless uses,” the new Hastings Pier has completely transformed the town’s waterfront from a neglected “shantytown” into a life-filled space for gathering and entertainment. The project was spurred into action after the pier was destroyed by fire in 2010.
“There was no sense in trying to reconstruct it as a 19th century pier – that typology had gone with the fire. There was an opportunity to reuse and reinvent the pier and give it a new future,” commented Alex de Rijke, dRMM Founding Director.
Inspired by the plug-and-play architecture of conceptualist Cedric Price, the architects paid special attention to keeping the pier as flexible as possible, allowing its users to fill it with whatever function they can imainge.
“For many, the fact the pier is still standing is special enough; but what makes this pier unique is the decision not to populate the space with permanent attractions,” said RIBA in a press release.
Earlier in the day, Hastings Pier was also announced as the winner of the people’s choice with 42% of the vote.
At the ceremony, the RIBA also presented the following national awards for 2017:
Stephen Lawrence Prize:
Established in 1998 in memory of Stephen Lawrence, who aspired to be an architect, the Stephen Lawrence Prize is now in its twentieth year and rewards the best examples of projects with a construction budget of less than £1 million.
Client of the Year:
The annual award, supported by The Bloxham Charitable Trust, recognises the key role that a good client plays in the creation of fine architecture.