“The Lens” 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. It’s a shortlisted proposal for the st. petersburg pier international design competition for the bayside city of st. petersburg, florida. The masterplan hope to generate a central and iconic element which connects the city with the waterfront creating a relationship with the bay.
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.
Two bridges link the Lens to the upland: one skims along the water’s surface creating a direct dialogue with the surrounding Bay; the other raises high overhead taking in sweeping vistas of the Pier and City. These twin bridges create a promenade to and from the Lens which is no longer unidirectional, but is instead a circuit, providing a diversity of experience as visitors travel out and return.
The lower bridge is a wider, wood‐clad deck accommodating pedestrians, runners, bicyclists, the Pier Tram, and service and emergency vehicles. The upper bridge’s airy promenade is for pedestrians, and perhaps pelicans, with views in all directions, to the bridge below, and the water beneath.
The Architects’ description: 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.
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.