Friday, December 2, 2011

On the Three Finalists for the St. Pete Pier Replacement.

You can see the three finalists here: [Link]

The three have catchy names. Any of them would revolutionize the view from Downtown St. Pete and cost the $50 million the city has budgeted for the project. My first thoughts...

The Wave is a very ambitious design that resonates well with the Dali Museum building. Its verticality and loop design gives it visual prominence. Hoofing it down that long walkway keeps one of the problems of the current Pier Design: No shade or protection from rain for those making the pilgrimage. I also don't see any stops along the way to sip on something, or bathroom facilities. I am curious about the interior. The form cuts down on the floorspace inside, but it is beautiful.

The Lens is splashy, and all about the water. The design is very expressive, with a big dripping wedge of style. From the renderings, it looks like it has a covered walkway. Has anyone seen the maquette? Does it provide shade and rain protection for those walking out to it? The amphitheater style could be put to use, but it seems like it would need a stage out in the middle.

The Eye is by far the most organic, looking like a giant version of a sea urchin or something one would find diving along a reef. It is multi-level, has very visible verticality, and looks like very pedestrian-navigable architecture. It looks hollow inside. What will there be to do after the long walk? I also do not see a trace of sun/rain protection for those making the journey out there.

I see those lengthy walkways being considered only as a means to reaching the end structure. Why not entertain the notion that the journey can be a destination in itself? Maybe a post or neomodern version of the Coney Island-style boardwalk with its own identity? Maybe an internet cafe for travelers with a water view? A lot of older people might need bathrooms somewhere along the line, or only want to go part of the way to a place to sit down (are we still ashamed of the benches?), grab a soft drink and a bite? Plus the city would lease those concessions and hopefully recoup some of its investment. Just a few thoughts....more to come.

I'll be going out to see the maquettes soon...

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