The Lens Pier Design: A Giant Aquatic Eyeball

St. Petersburg Pier The Lens

Just recently, I covered one of the design proposals for Florida’s St Petersburg Pier. BIG was a great place to start because of its impressive architectural design. Now that I’ve got your attention, I can touch on the other designs, which are equally as impressive but not quite as eye-catching.

Michael Maltzan Architecture has come up with a design proposal, the Lens, which is a much more futuristic and elegant design when compared to BIG. The Lens is an odd name, and from many of the pictures it’s impossible to tell why they named it that. From the air, however, it becomes immediately obvious, as the entire pier is shaped like a human eye, complete with a pupil and even eyelashes. The eye seems to be looking straight at St. Petersburg, an idea that is reinforced by the docks leading to the structure, which appear to create literal lines of sight from the eye to the city.

The Lens Pier

While it might be hard to see the big picture from the ground level, the view from within the pier is no less stunning. The sweeping, circular pattern of the pier is graceful and serene. The stark white and pale wood of the docks give it a clean, fresh, and almost futuristic look. Paired with the sparkling blue water that composes the center of the Lens, the pier will likely be a truly beautiful structure.

The Lens Aerial View

One of the major advantages that the Lens has over its competitor, BIG, is that covers a much larger area, thereby enabling the pier to host a huge number of facilities. On the flip side, however, the sheer size of the pier makes it a bit difficult to take in. If visitors to St. Petersburg don’t know what the pier is, they are likely to assume that the structure is some kind of arena or amphitheater. BIG, however, is immediately recognizable as a wave. Both structures will grab your attention, but you’d probably need somebody to point out to you that the Lens is in the shape of an eye on your first visit, or you’d miss it entirely.

Overall, the Lens is actually quite beautiful. BIG is neat and all, but it kind of just has its one shtick. It’s a building that’s shaped like a wave that’s next to the ocean. I get it. The Lens, though, is a brilliant design. Perhaps in this case, beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.


One thought on “The Lens Pier Design: A Giant Aquatic Eyeball

  1. foakleys

    Light can be polarized. A special polymer that creates microscopic grooves in the surface is rubbed on the side of the glass that does not have the polarizing film on it. The grooves must be in the same direction as the polarizing film. You then add a coating of nematic liquid crystals to one of the filters. The grooves will cause the first layer of molecules to align with the filter’s orientation. Then add the second piece of glass with the polarizing film at a right angle to the first piece. Each successive layer of TN molecules will gradually twist until the uppermost layer is at a 90-degree angle to the bottom, matching the polarized glass filters. foakleys


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