Niall McLaughlin Architects have won a fiercely contested competition to renovate the café-bar facility at the end of Deal Pier in Kent. The project forms part of an ongoing series of improvement works being carried out by Dover District Council, whose completion is scheduled to coincide with the pier's Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2007. The other short-listed teams (in alphabetical order) were Block Architecture Ltd., Feix & Merlin and Glowacka Rennie Architects.
The competition attracted a fantastic response in terms of the initial Expressions of Interest (eighty-two), the design concepts submitted by the short-listed teams, and the public's reaction to the proposals when they were exhibited anonymously in Deal in late April 2006. The jury panel, which consisted of representatives from Deal Town Council, Deal Historical Society, Dover District Council and an architectural adviser from the RIBA, felt that Niall McLaughlin's elegant design provided the most successful resolution to the complex demands of the café-bar's highly exposed coastal location.
Members of the jury panel commented:
'This project is hugely significant for Deal and choosing a winner from four excellent designs was extremely difficult. The winning scheme combines a lithe and deceptively simple architecture with a real grasp of the technical and aesthetic challenges of building on such an exposed and highly visible site'.
Robert Sakula (Ash Sakula Architects) - RIBA Adviser
'We looked in depth at all public feedback and not only are we confident that the scheme will provide a quality build, with good use of material and a flexible inside space, it was also one of the clear favourites identified by the public. This is an exciting project and this will be an instantly recognisable landmark for Deal'.
Cllr Mrs Julie Rook - jury panel member and Dover District Council Cabinet member