dRMM’s Hastings Pier Wins 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize

Salvaged wood adorns a new central visitors’ center. Image courtesy Alex de Rijke.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has awarded the 2017 Stirling Prize to the Hastings Pier, which was restored and transformed by London–based architecture firm dRMM. Acknowledged by the institution as the best building of the year, the project in Hastings, U.K., beat out a shortlist that included Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Reiach & Hall Architects, and 6a architects. The project also announced by RIBA as the winner of the people’s choice award.

Image courtesy Jason Sayer.

Image courtesy Francesco Montaguti.

The original pier was destroyed in an arson attack in 2010 at the age of 138. dRMM opted to reimagine the pier entirely as an attraction for its openness and minimalism. Inspired by conceptualist architect Cedric Price, the team—Alex de Rijke, Sadie Morgan, and Philip Marsh—crafted the pier with the utmost flexibility in order for users to access the space for myriad purposes or programming as an extension of the Hastings Promenade. Salvaged wood is arranged against a new visitors’ center at the core of the pier, which hosts events and exhibitions as well as an archival display welcoming visitors to submit memories of the old pier through pictures and messages.

Image courtesy James Robertshaw.

Free of nearly any commercial space, the wooden pier hosts a crescent-shaped eatery whose design conveys the heritage of the setting with a subtle, Victorian style reinterpreted through a contemporary lens. Small, pastel-toned beach huts also line a corner of the pier, rented by vendors throughout the summer.