21st Century Piers – Modern, Relevant and Environmentally Sound

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      This competition is meant to stimulate imaginative yet workable ideas. It should produce credible ideas, but also be an enjoyable process for competitors and judges alike.

      The BURA Seaside Network goes from strength to strength. As it becomes more active it unearths more regeneration issues that are common to seaside towns. Some are obvious such as dealing with Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and transience. Others are less known such as the difficulty of assembling land for development along a seafront when some of the property owners are from the criminal fraternity. A less unpleasant, but still complex challenge is posed by piers.

      Some piers work. Mostly they don’t. Typically they stand out decaying in the sea as a symbol of seaside decline. Some are retained as a promenade; others host an array of arcades, bingo halls, bars and fairground rides. Few make money or contribute economically, but most retain some charm and generate a lot of loyalty.

      The question the BURA Seaside Network would like to ask is ‘are piers relevant to modern Britain?’ And if so, could they be exemplar sustainable structures, applying canny design to capture wind and sea power. Would the 21st Century pier perform primarily a leisure function, or would they only be economically feasible applying alternative uses, retail or office units perhaps?

      How the competition will be judged
      The BURA Seaside Network is assembling a panel drawn from the innovative and experienced ranks of the environmental, engineering, business and regeneration sectors to judge submitted ideas. BURA will sift the original entrants and pass on merited recommendations to the panel who will review and meet to identify a top three and winner from each category.
      There will be two competition categories:

      The professional category will include all those who are a qualified architect, engineer, planner or urban designer*.

      The non-professional category includes all those not included in the category above and is open to students and members of the public too.

      *All submissions are to be accompanied by a summarised biography or CV and BURA reserves the right to move submissions from one category to another at its discretion.

      The task
      The network wants to generate some innovative and feasible ideas for modern piers. The competition is non-specific to a place; at this stage we want ideas for ‘Generic-on-Sea,’ an average Seaside town. The submissions in both categories will be judged on imaginative uses for the pier and how they can be environmentally sustainable and aesthetically meretricious. Whilst innovative submissions are encouraged, they will be judged in real world terms, applicants must consider, ‘could I walk into a bank and raise money on this idea.’

      How and what to submit
      Submissions must be clearly marked with name, address, company or institution (if relevant) and should state if you hold any professional qualifications – this will identify what category you fall into. You are asked to submit a maximum 2000 word summary of your proposed idea for a modern pier, including what function it will perform, what uses it will include, how it will generate income and what kind of employment it will create. It should also outline its environmental credentials, not just in terms of energy capture and dissemination, but materials used and impacts on marine environments. Accompanying sketches are welcomed, and will be judged on how they support the written brief as opposed to technical accuracy.

      Submissions should be received by Jessica Courtney Bennett by midnight, Friday 29 June and should be clearly marked – Pier Competition, BURA, 63-66 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8LE.

      Please send five copies of your submission. All accompanying sketches should be on A4 paper and remember to include a copy of your summarised CV or biography. Please send questions to jessica@bura.org.uk

      What Next
      The submissions from both categories that reach recommendation stage will be placed on a website and be promoted for viewing and include contact details of competitors.

      The winner from the professional category will have the opportunity to present their idea at a BURA Seaside Network Conference.

      The winner from the non-professional category will have their idea sketched up by a national ‘Signature Architect’ and displayed at a BURA Seaside Network Conference. The winner will also receive £1000 cheque and have the opportunity to work up the pier into a technical proposal with the competition sponsor and present their findings at BURA Seaside Network Conference.

      We will also produce a publication on piers giving special prominence to the category winners and featuring all ideas short listed.

      There has already been a lot of interest in this competition from the national press and competitors should be prepared and willing to be interviewed by either BURA or journalists.

      Submissions by Friday 29 June
      Short lists by Friday 20 July
      Winners announced at Rhyl conference Thursday 20 September
      Winners deliver presentations at Blackpool conference on Thursday 1 November

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