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Deal Pier Cafe & Bar

Deal Pier Cafe & Bar

Structural Award Winner 2009

Location: Dartmouth
Building Owner: Dover District Council
Niall McLaughlin Architects
Building/Main Contractor:
Structural Engineers: Price & Myers
: Canterbury Joinery LTD
Wood Species: Iroko

The previous structure was constructed in ferrous materials. For a structure under long-term exposure to a highly corrosive environment, this was not ideal. The pier is generally 7m above sea level, but wave spray frequently breaks over the deck, especially during storms. For the new building, the aim was to find a construction material whose intrinsic properties were naturally suited to this environment. Iroko, a highly durable timber that could be left untreated and exposed, was chosen as the primary building material.

The building’s structure is a series of trussed portal frames with pinned feet to minimise load transfer to the existing pier structure. The frames were developed with Niall McLaughlin Architects to make use of standard length, triangulated timber ‘spars’ for a highly efficient and minimalist structure to resist the vertical, wind, and wave impact load. The individual lengths of Iroko were connected by stainless steel flitch plates, recessed into each joint.

The use of bolted connections allowed each frame to be broken up into modules that could be easily transported along the pier approach. The frames were assembled at the pier head and tilted up into position without the need for heavy cranage.

The Iroko portal frames that make up the structure of the building are linked by stressed skin plywood panels and large windows. Timber slats provide shading around a glazed café at the southern end of the building where visitors can enjoy the best views of the sea, sky and light from the end of the pier.