29 January 2018
Victorian seaside pier gets 21st century update with dRMM
Hastings Pier has enjoyed a long, vibrant history since it was opened by the Earl of Granville on a wet and windy August Bank Holiday Monday in 1872.
In its 145-year history, the pier has burned down twice, served as a landing site for refugees during the Second World War, and hosted concerts by the Rolling Stones, the Who and Jimi Hendrix.
Destroyed by a devastating fire in 2010, Hastings Pier has risen ‘phoenix-like’ from the ashes to be crowned the UK's best new building, winning the 2017 Royal Institute of British Architects’ Stirling Prize.
Designed by dRMM Architects, the new pier is an elegant modern reinterpretation of a Victorian pleasure pier. Devoid of the traditional clutter of attractions such as fun-fare carousels, it is designed to host a wide range of entertainment, such as fun-fairs, festivals, markets and live music events.
After the fire, dRMM began a seven-year collaboration with the community, devastated by the loss of one of Britain’s best-loved seaside buildings. The architect launched a crowdfunding campaign that raised £590,000 of the £14.2m cost. The remainder of the money was funded by the Heritage Lottery.
Today the new pier stands proud, like the deck of a ship, from where visitors can gaze down at some of the original rusting columns. Hastings Pier contains timber reclaimed from the original pier and has scorched wood cladding on its visitor centre, which has a viewing deck.
The 19th-century structural iron work, hidden below deck, has been restored and strengthened, and the surviving Victorian Pavilion is now an open plan, glazed cafe-bar, with the deck set aside for large-scale concerts, markets and public gatherings.
A small pavilion in the middle houses a cafe and community space, with a large staircase leading up to a rooftop belvedere, which doubles as seating for concerts. It is clad in timber planks reclaimed from the original fire-damaged deck, fitted in a zigzag pattern.
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