Tampa, Florida, USA
The New St. Petersburg Pier by Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers creates a destination that embraces the Pier’s role both as an icon for the City of St. Petersburg and as a more inclusive, sustainable model for a 21st-century public realm.
The project was awarded with a 2021 Green Good Design® Award by The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum.
The design reconnects the Pier to the daily life of downtown St. Petersburg, tying in transportation and recreation systems such as bike paths, jogging trails, and public transit systems.
A 12-acre armature of urban and recreational features, visitors enter through the welcome plaza before making their way through a ramble of educational and recreational amenities dispersed along the entirety of the 1,380-foot-long pedestrian pier.
At the terminus, an 11,000-square-foot Pierhead features a large tilted lawn for concerts and film screenings; a fishing deck that invites families and fisherman a quarter mile out in the bay; a sit-down restaurant; and outdoor spaces for gathering, including a rooftop deck with 360-degree views.
The experience reaching the end of the Pier is heightened through the expansive views back to the city and out over the bay.
Organized as a linear cut through the uplands, a boardwalk with overlooks to the marina and the bay drifts in and out through the one-acre coastal thicket before emerging alongside the Pier leading to the education center.
Establishing new microecologies, this landscape experience provides both an educational opportunity and a shaded passage from the beach drive to the heart of the Pier.
Historically, coastal development and urbanization have severely diminished vital marine resources.
From minimizing construction impact to existing ecological resources, to exceeding Federal Emergency Management Agency requirements, to securing long-term net environmental enhancements through modified operational pier policies, the New St. Pete Pier builds capacity for coastline resiliency and models the future for sustainable bayside city living.
Beyond simply replacing an aging icon, the New St. Pete Pier constructs the basis for a more ecologically friendly relationship between the natural and built environments.
The design reduces the project’s overall footprint to just 5.2 acres within the bay waters for a net 1-acre reduction, removing over 5.4 acres of overwater structures, 5.3 acres of decaying concrete decking, and 1,435 pilings from the old Pier. It also eliminates cars and reduces the number of speed boats in the area, cutting down motor vehicle use by 1.2 acres for the benefit of existing sensitive marine resources.
The naturalized beachfront, which includes a hydrodynamic modeled artificial reef and breakwater structure, produces calmed water, both enhancing recreational use for fishing, kayaking, boating, and swimming, and providing more suitable environments for marine animals and shorebirds.
Additionally, regulated fishing activities reduce the potential impacts to endangered sea turtles and sawfish species. The creation of oyster colonization and essential fish habitats also dampen erosion effects.
More than just an eco-friendly waterfront development, the Pier is an essential investment in Tampa Bay’s ability to recover from climate change disasters.
The region ranks the most vulnerable place in the U.S and one of the top-ten most at-risk areas in the world due to rising sea levels and the increasing likelihood of major storm surges.
The new infrastructure raises the Pier to 11.5 feet above sea level, surpassing FEMA regulations, and includes flood-resistant features and drainage capabilities to minimize flooding impacts to account for rising sea levels, 100-year flood plains, and 155 mph winds.
With pavers and concrete that can survive being submerged and withstand significant waves, the pier design ensures that recovery from 100-year storms and Category 4 hurricanes is possible.
Architects: Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers
Architects of Record: ASD | SKY
Landscape Architects: Ken Smith Workshop
Client: City of St. Petersburg
General Contractor: Skanska
Photographers: Rich Montalbano