Monthly Archives: July 2017

dRMM Shortlisted for Stirling Prize, UK’s Top Architecture Award - 19-07-2017


dRMM’s Hastings Pier is shortlisted for the 2017 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Prize, the UK’s top architecture award. The six shortlisted projects were drawn from the 49 winners of the 2017 National Awards.

The RIBA will announce the Stirling Prize winner on 31 October 2017 in the iconic architectural setting of the Roundhouse, London.

They are judged against a range of criteria including design vision; innovation and originality; capacity to stimulate, engage and delight occupants and visitors; accessibility and sustainability; how fit the building is for its purpose and the level of client satisfaction.

dRMM have been shortlisted for the Stirling Prize twice previously; for Clapham Manor Primary School in 2013 and the Trafalgar Place residences last year in 2016.

The Architectural Journal’s Rob Wilson and Jon Astbury says about Hastings Pier: “There remain precious few examples of architects grappling with genuine unprogrammed public space, the sole example here being the blank canvas of dRMM’s Hastings Pier, made possible through inspiring community engagement and funding. Their master-move was to design a strong, community-led and -owned serviced platform, which could accommodate a whole host of uses, from concerts to international markets. The decision not to place any building at the end of the pier is extremely powerful. The large, open space provides a sense of calmness and delight, with a strong connection to the sea and the seafront. This project has reinvigorated a historic structure and facilitated a contemporary and appropriate 21st-century use.”


Prof. Alex de Rijke, dRMM founding director says about Hastings Pier: “By 2010 Hastings Pier was a lost paradise; overdeveloped and dangerously obsolete, then burnt. It was rescued by a collaboration of local determination and architectural lateral thinking. The expectation for a ‘hero building’ at the end of the pier is denied by dRMM. Instead of building an architecture of fixed use in a seasonal context, the community-owned Hastings Pier Charity are challenged to invite temporary installations to occupy an enormous, serviced deck. Most of the Lottery-funded budget went into repairing and strengthening the sea structure and new deck. The modest buildings provided above deck are glass and engineered timber, featuring cladding and furniture made from recycling the old pier decking that survived the fire. Hastings and St. Leonards now have a spectacular pier; a free-access public space for the pleasure of ‘walking on water’, and a civic space transformed by changing weather and events.”

Amanda Hyatt, a local resident says about Hastings Pier: “Much deserved, and well done Hastings Pier for looking forward not backwards. This is the best pier!”

hastings concertweb

Gavin Henderson, President of the National Piers Society said about Hastings Pier: “Well done Hastings, truly a Phoenix, and a great example for other restoration battles!.”

Hasting’s Pier was named Pier of the Year 2017 by the National Piers Society, and has been shortlisted for both the Wood Awards and Structural Timber Awards. It received three RIBA South East awards, a regional award and two special awards; Client of the Year for Hastings Pier Charity and Project Architect of the Year for Alex de Rijke.

Hastings Pier Project
More information on the Hasting’s Pier project can be viewed here.

RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlist
The RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlist can be viewed here.

Hastings Pier Charity
Support the pier and view upcoming events here.


‘An unprepossessing poise’ ICON Magazine on Maggie’s Oldham - 18-07-2017


Combining elements of a modernist villa, an industrial shed and a wooden cabin, the dRMM co-founder’s cancer care centre has an unprepossessing poise.

Do Maggie’s Centres even need an introduction anymore? There are 19 operational in the UK, two abroad and six are currently in development. The first one was built in 1996 in Edinburgh, a brainchild of Maggie Keswick Jencks, renowned expert in garden design and the late wife of architecture critic Charles Jencks. The centres provide counselling, tea and sympathy for cancer patients, who should not have to suffer clinical, impersonal, artificially-lit waiting rooms and corridors in hospitals, so goes the mission statement. Each centre is unique, and over the years, Maggie’s has managed to secure designs from some of the world’s most well-known architects.

The newest Maggie’s Centre, designed by Alex de Rijke of dRMM, opened a few weeks ago in Oldham’s Royal Hospital in Oldham, Greater Manchester. It is located opposite the Victoria building, which houses the breast care unit, on the edge of the sprawling hospital campus. The site used to be occupied by a mortuary, and sits a few metres below the level of the parking lot, which means that visitors enter the centre by a small bridge. The centre itself is a one-storey, rectangular box, lifted off the ground. Clad in corrugated, thermally treated tulipwood, the exterior is a strange, but entirely successful, medley of references – the crisp proportions of a modernist villa, the frankness of an industrial shed and comforting familiarity of a wooden cabin. As a result, the building assumes an unprepossessing poise on a rather banal and ugly campus.

Read the full article on ICON Magazine’s website here.


Words by Peter Smisek
Photo by Alex de Rijke

Sadie Morgan Joins London Mayor for Launch of Good Growth Design Vision - 17-07-2017

Sadiq Khan: Good Growth By Design - A Vision for London

Sadie Morgan joined Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, as he launched his Good Growth by Design vision for the future of London.

In a major speech at the London School of Economics, he cited I.M.Pei, saying, our buildings are a reflection of society, together they shape how we work and live, and where we integrate in London.

Following his speech, a panel of built environment experts responded to his vision. Chaired by Professor Tony Travers, the group included Professor Ricky Burdett, Professor Sadie Morgan, and Jackie Sadek.

dRMM founding director, Sadie Morgan said: “For me, London is the greatest city in the world, but it will only prosper if it is fit for the next century and beyond. With pressure on the world’s natural resources increasing, architects and designers can help government create a future that is sustainable and which encourages the next generation to flourish and prosper; a beautiful city whose residents are housed well and safely, in which travel is accessible and affordable, the air is clean, and where the public realm is truly for the public good. I have spent my professional career advocating the importance of good design.


I’m absolutely delighted to be chosen as one of the Mayor’s Design Advocates, and will continue to make the case that people and place should be at the forefront of our thinking when designing our built environment.”

Sadie was recently named New Londoner of the Year by New London Architecture (NLA) for her work championing design at the highest political level.

To support the Mayor’s ambitions and ensure development across London is high-quality, inclusive and sustainable, 50 Design Advocates will work with City Hall and councils on the programme. The advocates – half who are women and a quarter who are BAME – include celebrated architects Sir David Adjaye OBE and Sadie Morgan, as well as influential designer Wayne Hemingway MBE.

A copy of the Good Growth By Design booklet is available to download:‘Good Growth By Design’ (pdf)

View a summary of this event in tweets via Storify: Good Growth by Design – A Vision for London

A podcast of this event is available to download: Good Growth by Design – A Vision for London


Hastings Pier ‘a vibrant public space’ Wins RIBA National Award - 06-07-2017


Hastings Pier has received a RIBA National Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects in recognition of it’s exemplary transformation; from a disused ruin into an extraordinary public space.

The pier is one of only 49 buildings throughout the UK to have received the award. The shortlist for the UK’s best building of the year, the prestigious Stirling Prize, will be drawn from these winners and annonced Thursday 20 July 2017.

The judges praised the pier, saying: “It has taken a seven-year heroic collaboration to turn a smouldering pier in disrepair and decline into a vibrant public space with a palpable sense of ownership.

“This collaboration has been between the community, the council, the engineers and the architect and it is the architect’s vision which has been vital throughout to steer the process.

“After extensive stakeholder consultation, it was clear to dRMM that the pier would be expected to host many different populist scenarios.

“The architects had to write the brief and help raise the budget before redesigning the pier.

“Their ‘master-move’ and response to this brief was to design a strong, community led/owned serviced platform which could accommodate a whole host of uses, from music concerts, to international markets.”

hasting exhibition webhastings concertweb

RIBA president Jane Duncan said: “RIBA National Awards provide insight into emerging design trends, as well as showing how well the profession responds to economic drivers. I am delighted to see such confident, innovative and ambitious architecture delivered in such challenging times.”

Last month, the pier scooped three regional RIBA awards, including one for Client of the Year and Project Architect of the year.

Read about the design of Hastings Pier and it’s creative use of timber here.


NLA Honours Sadie Morgan as New Londoner of the Year - 05-07-2017


New London Architecture (NLA) has awarded Sadie Morgan ‘New Londoner of the Year’. The accolade acknowledges her work in championing design at the highest political level.

Alongside reporting directly to the Secretary of State as Chair of the Independent Design Panel for High Speed Two, she is also a commissioner for both the National Infrastructure Commission led by former Cabinet Minister Lord Adonis, and the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission.

Peter Murray, chairman of New London Architecture said: “Architects, and built environment professionals generally, have not been very good in recent years in helping to set the political agenda. Sadie Morgan is an exception. She has key advisory roles addressing important environmental issues of the day. dRMM were the very first winners of the Pipers Next Generation Award in 2003, and under Sadie’s leadership, have gone on to deliver with the steadfast belief in the importance of design that connects back to people and place.”

The NLA Awards are supported by the Mayor of London and highlight the very best contributors to architecture, planning and development in the capital. Sadie made a promise to her sister to be elsewhere and regretfully could not attend the awards ceremony held on July 5 at the Guildhall.

Sadie’s acceptance speech can be viewed here.

“As a creative industry one thing that we’re incredibly good at is thinking about the future because we’re innovative and we come at things laterally. Design isn’t just about aesthetics, it’s about problem solving, and those are the kinds of people that you need really early on in the process, be it policy-making, be it building.

If you integrate design early on it doesn’t cost money, it saves money because it helps you anticipate not only the problems but the opportunities. If we can learn to take risks, we can learn to put our head above the parapet, then we will start to reimagine our built environment which is I think one of the most extraordinary opportunities that we have.”

Past winners of the NLA New Londoner of the Year Award have included Tony Pidgley, Dame Zaha Hadid, Lord Richard Rogers, Irvine Sellar and Sir David Higgins.

For more on the awards, see the NLA website: