AN architect firm has been given the job of designing a pier fit for the future.
The Observer can exclusively reveal that London-based de Rijke Marsh Morgan beat off competition from 54 applicants after impressing during an interview with the campaign group fighting to save the fire-ravaged attraction.
The award-winning firm has been responsible for some eye-catching buildings across the UK, including a house in Suffolk which has a roof and walls which can slide off during hot weather and a modern art gallery in Oxford.
Its first job will be to apply for listed building planning consent, but the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust is now keen to see what sort of design the team comes up with.
The trust’s spokesman Tina Reid said: “The interest we received in the competition and the quality of the practices was extremely heartening. The six short-listed practices were all excellent but de Rijke Marsh Morgan gave a particularly impressive presentation and response to questions.
“It showed flexibility and lateral thinking in its designs, as well as value for money. The firm also showed a very open approach to consultation with the 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.”
That panel included the Observer’s editor Keith Ridley, invited on board after the paper gathered 3,000 signatures urging the council to act with the trust as part of its Save Our Pier campaign.
He said: “This is exciting news for Hastings. The trust has done an excellent job picking the right company and I am really looking forward to see what sort of design the team comes up with.”
And, according to a spokesman for dRMM, the firm can’t wait to get cracking. Alex de Rijke said: “We are delighted to be part of this unique project to work with the trust in recreating Hastings Pier.
“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.”
Locals will get the chance to talk to dRMM for the first time as a consultation day on March 12.
For more details keep an eye on the Observer or visit www.hpwrt.co.uk.