Timber features strongly at the heart of a new pier in Hastings, UK

The 2010 destruction of Hastings Pier in the UK 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.

In the final brief, which included rounds of consultations with the locals and other stakeholders, it was agreed that the Pier would have to support many different functions.

dRMM’s concept for the new pier was not only to create a predictable structure, but also to provide an open space for 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 creative use of timber is at the heart of the transformed Pier design. The new visitor centre is a 100 per cent cross-laminated timber structure, clad in the limited timber decking that survived the 2010 fire. This reclaimed timber was also used to make the furniture on the deck, designed by dRMM and Hastings & Bexhill Wood Recycling Ltd as part of a local employment initiative.

The visitor centre has been designed as an adaptable space for indoor events, exhibitions and educational activities, with an elevated belvedere on top. A glass walled, open-air “room” looks out to the vast views over the Pier.

The Visitor Centre is made of 100 per cent cross-laminated timber

The Pier gives 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. This is the first phase for the regeneration of Hastings Pier. Future phases include plans for a large, mobile, timber canopy that traverses the entire length of the 280m pier.

The Hastings Pier project was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize at the 2017 RIBA Awards.

 

Images: Alex de Rijke/ dRMM