Inspiration from live projects
The students made a series of encounters along the promenade, setting up events that created a lively engagement with the public to better understand their rapport with the pier and the promenade. These initial conversations led to a diverse and challenging set of uses for the pier.
These included an open university, a mortuary, a bird sanctuary, a fishing community, a retirement home, a seaweed farm, a shipbuilder’s yard, a council debating chamber, a refuge for the homeless and, a favourite, a re-enactment centre for the Battle of Hastings.
These are just a few examples showing the originality of ideas that can be drawn from students unconstrained by the immediate practicalities of industry. Running design projects that are engaged with an existing brief or question, benefits both the students and the live project. It adds a better understanding of the project for both by coming from two different angles, raw creativity versus the reasoned and the informed.
As the relationship developed it was agreed that the consultation data, the quality and variety of ideas, models and drawings the students developed would make a thought- provoking exhibition in Hastings and also become part of a visual archive for HPWRT and the Hastings community.
HPWRT funded the exhibition and used the students’ work to exhibit and communicate the actual dRMM proposed plan before submission to the Heritage Lottery.
The HPWRT and the university jointly promoted the event which was held at Trinity Studios in Hastings town centre. The exhibition resulted in an increased awareness of proposed plans for the pier and gave the students the opportunity to showcase their work outside of the degree show. It was picked up by BBC News and featured on their website as a visual story. This gave the students a wider audience for their work and makes them believe in the relevance of their ideas to live projects."
Hastings Pier has since been awarded £11.4 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the university continues to be involved in the regeneration work.