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A Sheffield Hallam University lecturer has won the UK's most coveted architecture award - the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) Stirling Prize.

The Hastings Pier, which reopened in April 2016 following a devastating fire in 2010, was designed by Oli Cunningham, a senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam. Oli completed the project as part of a wider team whilst working as an architect for London-based firm, dRMM Architects.

Now in its 22nd year, the Riba Stirling Prize is presented annually to the UK's best new building. The rebuilt pier in East Sussex, which underwent a multi-million pound redevelopment, beat five other buildings to the Prize.

Riba president Ben Derbyshire described the "stunning, flexible new pier" as "a masterpiece of regeneration". He also praised Hastings' locals for finding 3,000 shareholders to buy £100 stakes in "the people's pier".

Oli, who was teaching in China at the time of the announcement, said: "It was certainly quite a surprise when I was informed but I'm really pleased to have played my part on the team at dRMM Architects. 

"The people of Hastings are the real winners. The local community refused to give up when the project looked impossible, and now they have, and own, the most fantastic space and facilities. I feel very privileged to have been involved."

The Hastings Pier
The Hastings Pier
The Hastings Pier

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Originally built in 1872, Hastings Pier was judged Pier of the Year in April following its £14.2m restoration.

The redevelopment took more than two years and saw the pier's former pavilion turned into a restaurant and bar.


For press information: Please contact Martin Webb in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2621 or email