London architects de Rijke Marsh Morgan were announced on Monday as the winners of the competition to select an architect for the redevelopment of Hastings Pier on England's Channel Coast. Launched in October last year by RIBA Competitions on behalf of Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust (HPWRT), the competition attracted over 50 expressions of interest from architects from the UK and beyond.
HPWRT was established with the ultimate goal of reopening and revitalising the pier as a community based asset. Opened in 1872 the pier is prominently positioned, but over the years its condition has been left to deteriorate, and it was completely closed to the public in 2008. The competition announcement asked for architects with ‘exceptional design skills’ and experience in engaging the local community.
de Rijke Marsh Morgan were one of a shortlist of six practices chosen from over 50 applicants. Also on the shortlist were Niall Laughlin Architects, Wilkinson Eyre Architects, FAT, Adams & Sutherland and White Arkitekter AB.
RIBA architectural adviser and jury panel member Simon Barker of Barker Shorten said: 'It was a difficult job to chose a winner from the incredibly high quality of the practices who were shortlisted, but I think that dRMM will be a very good choice: a practice that will bring to the project really high quality design, as well as a commitment to working sensitively and responsively with communities.'
Tina Reid, or HPWRT added: 'The pier burned down just after we advertised the competition for an Architect, which was devastating. However, the interest we received in the competition and the quality of the practices was extremely heartening. The six shortlisted practices were all excellent. de Rijke Marsh Morgan gave a particularly impressive presentation and question and answer session. They showed flexibility and lateral thinking in their designs, as well as value for money. They also showed a very open approach to consultaton with Hastings community, with no preconceptions of how the pier should look. Every member of the panel was in agreement with de Rijke Marsh Morgan as our first choice and we are looking forward to working with them.'
dRMM will now work closely with HPWRT to support them in their future funding and design development strategy, to develop a design and delivery plan that will help HPWRT achieve its ultimate ambition for a revitalised pier that will kick-start the wider regeneration of Hastings and St Leonards.
Alex de Rijke said: 'dRMM are delighted to be part of this unique project to work with the Trust in recreating Hastings Pier. Our first priority is to secure approvals for the clearance of above-deck fire debris, as well as for emergency repairs to the below-deck structure. Then we shall work closely with both the Trust and the local community to redefine the Pier's potential for a sustainable future. We need a design that can work as a catalyst for further regeneration of Hastings and St. Leonards.'
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