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dRMM completes Hastings pier

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dRMM has completed the regeneration of Hastings pier which was damaged by fire in 2010 

PROJECT DATA • ARCHITECT’S VIEW

The practice won the job through a contest back in January 2011 when it saw of competition from FAT, Adams Sutherland, Wilkinson Eyre, Niall McLaughlin Architects and Swedish eco-specialist White AB.

The project included substantial repairs to the pier’s structure which had been damaged by a combination of fire, sea erosion, and storms, while above a remaining derelict Victorian pavilion has been brought back to life.

A new visitor centre has been constructed from cross laminated timber and clad in decking which survived the 2010 fire. The centre acts as an adaptable indoor events space for exhibitions and education activities.

It also features an elevated glazed ‘belvedere’ with views out over the pier and towards Europe, the town and the along the coastline.

The scheme is the first phase of the pier’s regeneration and future plans include a large mobile timber canopy which will move along the length of the 280m-long structure.

Hastings Pier by dRMM

Hastings Pier by dRMM

Architect’s view

The 2010 destruction of Hastings Pier by fire was an opportunity to redefine what a pier could be in the 21st century; moving away from the accumulation of commercial booths of poor quality construction. The fire cleared the way for a new approach to creating a generous amenity space for Hastings & St Leonards residents, and visitors from the UK and overseas. After consultation with locals and stakeholders the conclusion was that the Pier would have to support many different scenarios.

dRMM’s conceptual basis for the re-design of the pier 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. Small local trading stalls in the form of classic beach huts have already arrived, setting the example for an endless range of future possibilities.

The Pier is an extension of the Promenade from which it projects – a public, open space. The experience of being surrounded by sea and ’walking on water’ is heightened by the optical game set up by the louvered balustrade design and the quality of the timber deck.

Hastings Pier by dRMM

Hastings Pier by dRMM

Project data

Type of project public realm
Location Hastings
Architect dRMM
Client Hasting Pier Charity
Cost consultant KMCS
Structural engineer Ramboll
Marine and heritage engineer Ramboll
Service engineer Ramboll
CDM coordinator KMCS
Funding £11.4 million from Heritage Lottery Fund

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