The Pier is a new icon for the City of St. Petersburg, reframing the relationship between the City and the Bay. Visible from afar, it is a crown on the skyline and a marker within the daily life of St. Petersburg. Like a magnifying glass on the water, the Pier is a lens back to the city, and a window into the underwater world beneath. Twin bridges extend out and back, no longer unidirectional, but instead a circuit, allowing for a diversity of experience reflecting a more reciprocal relationship between the Pier and the surrounding waterfront. This is a new space for collective experiences for individuals, families, and the residents of St. Pete to gather, to play, and to celebrate. Water is the icon, a vast amenity that defines the city in many ways. The Pier provides a host of both powerful and nuanced ways to experience the bay – its particular light, atmosphere, horizon, its nautical sociability, its renewed underwater life, an aquatic perspective on the city itself.
A NEW ICON OVER THE WATER
As its canopy rises over the Bay, the Lens incorporates bicycle and walking paths arcing upwards before returning to the water’s edge. Its broad form shelters the main promenade from the hot sun and the rain, welcoming visitors as they arrive on foot, on bicycle, or via the Pier Tram. Elevators and stairs bring visitors up to a series of viewing decks with unprecedented views of the city skyline in the distance. An oculus inscribed at the far end of the loop opens and connects the world within the Lens and Tampa Bay beyond. At night, the surface of the canopy can become an extraordinary surface for video projection, for performance, and for art. Patterns of light, color or even clouds can track across its surface and will be visible from the Amphitheater and the surrounding city.
ACTIVE SUSTAINABILITY ELEMENTS
The canopy’s surface also plays an active role for sustainability. Built of precast white concrete panels, the canopy incorporates an array of micro turbines embedded in its surface, their patterned form taking advantage of prevailing winds and the canopy’s form. Solar panels are arrayed across the northwest edge of the bowl, their position optimized in relationship to the sun’s path. The canopy also captures and routes rainwater into collection cisterns embedded in the pedestrian pathway below.
CONNECTING TO A BROADER URBAN FABRIC
The new Pier is a central element connecting downtown St. Petersburg and its waterfront park system. A series of east?west connections link the Pier to the heart of downtown St. Petersburg and Mirror Lake. A new promenade and sculpture walk extends the existing cultural and commercial axis to the north and south, supporting continued development along the water and linking the new Pier, the City and its waterfront.
LOCATION / St. Petersburg, Florida
TYPE / Pier with marina and restaurants
SIZE / 1500′ span
STATUS / To Be Completed 2016
ROLE / Design Architect & Architect of Record
COST / $50M
AWARDS / First Prize, International Competition, 2012
AIA Next LA Design Award, 2012