The 21st Century Piers Competition was launched with the aim of generate new and imaginative uses for piers – an evocative symbol of the British seaside. Entrants were required to focus on sustainable design, and the shortlist features an array of different functions, from hotels to helipads and ecology centres. The five shortlisted professional designers are Tim Phillips, from the National Piers Society; John McLean, from Morgan Carn Partnership and Humberts Leisure & Hemsley Orrell Partnership; Xu Sheng from Kingston University; Mike Oades from Atomik Architecture with XCO2; and of course, Brian McArthur from Aedas Architects. Raymond Cowling, Daniel Roberts, Ian Hughs, Alison Kelly, Michael Hambridge are the five non-professional finalists. Two entries from Daniel Taylor and 16-year-old, Jem Tucker, were highly commended.Brian McArthur’s designs propose a solution for accommodating the regional seat of government in coastal locations – creating a destination setting for local services and a mini economy surrounding the authority’s premises. Sustainable design elements include using running water, tides and wind turbines to generate power, cladding incorporating photo voltaic panels, daylight captured through building orientation and layout and forest planting. The building would be carbon-neutral over its lifetime.The architecture proposed by Brian McArthur draws on the traditional glass and metal palette prevalent in Victorian seaside towns throughout the UK. Incorporating a mix of uses, including retail and leisure outlets, the pier and built environment would invite social interaction from a diverse cross-section of the local community.The winners will be announced tomorrow at the Seaside Network's Conference in Rhyl.