Posted on

Walking tall: Hastings pier wins the Stirling architecture prize

Nicknamed The Plank, De Rijke Marsh Morgan’s stark wooden wonder – using timber reclaimed from previous fires – was praised for changing ‘the idea of what architecture is’

‘This pier,” said the Earl of Granville, when he opened Hastings Pier in 1872, “appears to me to be a peerless pier – a pier without a peer – except, perhaps, the unfortunate peer who is now addressing you.” Now, 145 years on, after a chequered life of spectacular fires and reincarnations of mixed success, Hastings Pier has once again been declared peerless – as the winner of the 2017 RIBA Stirling prize for the best building in the UK.

The structure is a far cry from the elaborate confection that impressed the Earl, a classic piece of seaside Victoriana designed by pier supremo Eugenius Birch, encrusted with twinkling lights and crowned with a Moorish pavilion. Instead, visitors to the seaside town are greeted by a stark wooden deck thrust out over the sea. Nicknamed The Plank, it eschews the usual kiss-me-quick seaside clutter (plenty of which can be found further along the beach), in favour of a neutral platform to host a range of different activities. Well supplied with electricity and other services, it is a blank canvas for the lively programme of bouncy castles, carousels and concerts. When not in festive mode, it is a powerful expanse, a place that is free to enter where you can hover above the water, inhale the sea air and take in the epic views.

Continue reading…

Posted on

The parent trap: how travelling forces you to address the generation gap | Johanna Leggatt

Nothing prepares you for how rigidly parents will adhere to old habits even as the world is screaming at them to change

Are we there yet? Travelling with parents is not for the faint-hearted.

When you go home for Christmas, a kind of emotional regression takes place. You could be 40 – 50 even – but something about being back in the family home and sleeping in your old childhood bedroom casts you into teenage petulance. You feel like an adolescent again and you start behaving like one.

Continue reading…