Project DescriptionFROM THE ARCHITECTS (July 9, 2015):
Today, the City Council formally approved funding and contracts for the redesign of the city’s iconic landmark, the St. Petersburg Pier. Awarded through a competition sponsored by the City, the design of The Pier Park represents a collaborative effort from a team of firms: Lead Designer, New York City-based ROGERS PARTNERS Architects+Urban Designers (Rogers Partners); Executive Architect, Tampa-based ASD; and Landscape Architect, New York City-based WORKSHOP: Ken Smith Landscape Architect.
The St. Petersburg pier has been an essential icon in the city since the late 1800s. Throughout its history, it has existed in many forms – the original and highly successful Railroad pier of 1889, the Electric pier, the Municipal pier, the Million-Dollar pier, and finally the most recent iteration, known simply as “The Pier.”
“Each of the pier’s past incarnations had its own set of programs and uses, some more ambitious than others,” said John Curran, AIA, studio leader at ASD and lead project manager for the new pier. “The ones that succeeded appealed to both visitors and residents, and were active day and night, throughout the year. This flexibility was essential to our approach to the new design.”
New design honors the pier’s eclectic history, transforms it into 21st-century public place
The ASD/Rogers Partners/Ken Smith design does more than replace an aging icon. It extends the urban and recreational features of St. Petersburg into the bay itself. The design will reconnect the pier to the daily life of St. Petersburg, tying into the city’s transportation and recreation systems – bike paths, jogging trails, parking location, and public transit systems – as well as new transport options like the Looper Trolley and a potential high-speed ferry.
“To accomplish the vision for a new and revitalized pier,” Robert M. Rogers, FAIA, founder of Rogers Partners, said, “we are creating a place that embraces the dual role of the pier as both an icon for the city and an integral part of the St. Petersburg Waterfront – a place for tourists and everyday visitors alike, one that honors the pier’s robust, eclectic history while transforming it into a 21st-century public place.”
Rather than a singular and heavily programmed destination at the pier head, The Pier Park will be a platform for a multitude of smaller and more flexible programs and experiences for both tourists and the local community – from children to seniors, nature lovers to boaters, fishermen to fine diners. It will serve as a hub for activity, not only at the pier head, but all along its length.
“The nation’s great successful urban parks accommodate changes over time,” adds Rogers. “The New St. Petersburg pier can be successful for generations, because it can be rich in use now, in twenty years, in fifty, and in seventy five.”
During the meeting, $5.2 million was approved which will be spent on finalized design, demolition of the current Pier and approach and initial contracting services. The council approved $1.1 million to finalize design details and another half-million to fund pre-construction work. On May 9th, the City selected the new pier’s design, and will now begin moving forward with demolition of the existing structure, slated for completion by the end of this year.