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Panel selects three finalists to design new Pier — Dali architects not among them

ST. PETERSBURG — The architects of the new Salvador Dali Museum won't be able to replicate their success with a second signature building on the St. Petersburg waterfront.

HOK, a global firm with an office in Tampa, was not one of three firms selected Friday to submit designs for a new $50 million Pier.

The Dali has won raves since opening this year, but jurors said other firms were more creative.

HOK's approach represented "corporate architecture" that wouldn't be distinctive enough, said Stanley Saitowitz, a professor at the University of California in Berkeley.

Another early favorite also was cut: James Corner Field Operation, which designed the celebrated green walkway atop an abandoned elevated railroad in New York called High Line Park.

The three remaining contenders: BIG from Denmark and New York City; West 8 Urban Design in New York City; and Michael Maltzan Architecture of Los Angeles. All have partners with Tampa Bay area offices.

Assuming the City Council approves the finalists Sept. 8, the three firms will draw up design concepts that will be available for public review in December. The jury will then rank them, with a winner expected to be named in February.

BIG: The Bjarke Ingels Group will use Clemmons Architecture of St. Petersburg as a partner, among others. It has a European flair in its projects, which include parks for the St. Louis Arch and the Brooklyn Bridge. Clemmons worked on Signature Place tower downtown. BIG's approach envisions an enhanced beach and using the waterfront for water-themed activities. It calls for "hedonistic sustainability" — environmentally sustainable design that would remain what jurist James Moore called "wonderful" and "unique."

Michael Maltzan Architecture: Its proposal was the last chosen, but won the support of all jurors except St. Petersburg council member Leslie Curran, who favored the New York firm Weiss/Manfredi. Maltzan's work includes bridges and parks in California and China. Maltzan's approach envisions two looping paths to the water. One would go down to the water's surface, and another would elevate to be a pier. Onshore buildings or pavilions would create a path into downtown.

West 8: The firm had the most widespread support on the jury, with a panelist noting its early research on the city's history with the pier. Its team has several area partners, including George F. Young engineers from St. Petersburg. The firm has completed waterfront parks in Toronto and Miami Beach. It scored points for describing a place that would attract "pedestrians, joggers, cyclists, kayakers, boaters" and that would link to Central Avenue businesses. Curran lauded plans for including Mirror Lake, for instance.

David DeCamp can be reached at or (727) 893-8779. Follow him on Twitter at

Panel selects three finalists to design new Pier — Dali architects not among them 08/19/11 [Last modified: Friday, August 19, 2011 11:21pm]
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