What 16 design teams want to do to the St. Petersburg Pier

The 16 competitors' ideas range from a new "iconic" look to a plan to "repurpose" the existing pyramid. Here's a look.
On Oct. 3, the design hopefuls will be winnowed to a short list and asked to define their plans to build a new Pier or renovate the inverted pyramid. DIRK SHADD   |   Times (2012)
On Oct. 3, the design hopefuls will be winnowed to a short list and asked to define their plans to build a new Pier or renovate the inverted pyramid.DIRK SHADD | Times (2012)
Published September 18 2014
Updated September 18 2014

ST. PETERSBURG — Although 16 design teams with professionals from Tampa Bay to New York to London and Colombia are making a bid to re-create St. Petersburg's landmark Pier, the competition doesn't begin in earnest until Oct. 3.

That's when the hopefuls will be winnowed to a short list and asked to define their plans to build a new Pier or renovate the shuttered inverted pyramid.

A construction manager at risk will help a selection committee determine which concepts realistically can be built within the $33 million construction budget before top designs are ranked in February.

Last week, a city evaluation team selected Skanska USA Builders — which also won the construction manager at risk contract for the rejected Lens design — for the new project. The firm was paid $209,380 for the halted work and will receive $50,000 for the cost-estimating portion, the first part of its job for the new Pier project.

At least 11 of the 16 design teams are likely to use the inverted pyramid in some form. Three would build anew. One appears open to either option and another has yet to decide. Here's a quick look at the teams:

ahha! Design Group, "a consortium of design professionals" led by the St. Petersburg architectural firm ahha! Believes replacing the pyramid "will ultimately be the correct choice," but is open to opportunities to save it.

Alfonso Architects of Tampa heads a team of "visionaries and professionals," including renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly, HSN CEO Mindy Grossman and artist James Rosenquist. Its position is that the city is ready for "the next Pier transmutation, a new symbol."

ATYPE Design Collaborative includes "almost the entire design consultant team" for the new Innovation, Science and Technology building at Florida Polytechnic University. Led by a New York architect, the group, which includes local professionals, wants "to incorporate the existing inverted pyramid structure and integrate some reasonable aspect of it" into its design.

AZPML of London, whose founder and director is dean of the Princeton School of Architecture, touts its team's international experience and that of "local" architect Charles H. Benson of Miami. It plans to "recycle the existing infrastructure as much as possible."

Cooper Johnson Smith Architects and Town Planners of Tampa and its team envisions "a new reshaped pier" and the uplands developed "using imagery, form and program derived from historic harbor villages."

Fisher and Associates of Clearwater would reprise aspects of a design proposed by late Tampa architect Kenneth Kroger, who had worked with the Vote on the Pier group. His design tried to show "what could be done to preserve, renew, and repurpose the existing inverted pyramid structure and the entire Pier within the city's budget," the firm says.

FR-EE, with Civitas and Mesh Architecture, boasts of an international and local team. FR-EE has offices in Mexico and New York and Civitas is redesigning Tampa's Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park. Mesh partnered with BIG, a finalist in the city's 2011 international pier design competition. They will reuse the inverted pyramid.

h2hold LLC of St. Petersburg, with Global Amusement Consulting and Jack Rouse Associates and others, promise to deliver "an experience centered on amusement, entertainment, recreation and education" using the inverted pyramid.

El Equipo de Mazzanti of Colombia and Hayes Cumming Architects of St. Petersburg and others in their team propose "an open system of flexible pieces" that can move and change to replace the inverted pyramid. Andrew Hayes was co-chairman of Mayor Rick Kriseman's transition team.

Perkins and Will, working out of Atlanta, and its team currently intend to use the inverted pyramid and re-establish the Pier "as an iconic element." It will renew "the structure, experiences, environment and identity" of both the Pier and the city.

Ross Barney Architects of Chicago will work with Long and Associates in Tampa and others, including Gary Mormino, professor emeritus in Florida history at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. The team is "intrigued with the notion" of preserving the pyramid and believes "it can be recast and remolded into a dynamic new experience."

• The team of ASD, whose offices include Tampa, with Rogers Partners and Ken Smith Landscape Architect — a "triumvirate of talents and expertise" — will reconstruct the pierhead and maintain "the existing structure of the inverted pyramid."

St. Pete Design Group brings together Salvador Dalí Museum architect Yann Weymouth with Harvard Jolly, designer of the original inverted pyramid, and Wannemacher Jensen, which was part of the Lens team. The group plans to "transform the inverted pyramid into a timeless centerpiece."

Studio V Architecture, based in New York, says its team will create "a newly formed open space network," which will welcome visitors from the water and uplands area. Its design will honor history by reusing and integrating the inverted pyramid with a contemporary design.

VOA team, based in Orlando, says it will "renew the existing pier while preserving the inverted pyramid in form." The plan is to transform its shape "through the use of color, light, sound, water, and moveable structure to change on a continual basis."

W Architecture and Landscape Architecture of New York, is committing neither to renovation nor to a new Pier until the team is able to "investigate the options and consider them through the lens of community concerns and needs." However, it will "commit to the process of investigation of reuse."

Contact Waveney Ann Moore at wmoore@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2283. Follow @wmooretimes.