The third and final pier design in the St. Petersburg Pier International Design Competition is the West 8 Urban structure. The West 8 Pier design is drastically different from the two other designs in the competition, which are huge and eye-catching.
The West 8 Pier takes a very different approach. Rather than serving as an architectural beacon certain to attract pedestrians and tourists, the West 8 design is a bit more humble. A long, thin bridge extends to a manmade sand island, which includes a small, circular white pavilion. This pier is more like a quiet haven for rest and relaxation rather than an enormous extension of the buzzing metropolis of St. Petersburg.
In order to understand why this would be so appealing, it’s important to understand St. Petersburg from a geographical standpoint. Tampa Bay separates St Petersburg from the mainland portion of Florida. The entire peninsula that contains St. Petersburg is a sprawling city without many forests or open fields. The region has parks, certainly, and the ocean surrounds St. Petersburg to the east, south, and west, but it would be easy to feel claustrophobic in the city. You have to drive out of St. Petersburg and through a few other cities just to see some natural wildlife. The beaches are a far stretch from the calm, serene waters that you see in Corona commercials because everything is heavily urbanized.
The West 8 Pier would serve as an escape from the city, a bit like what Central Park is to New York. The building is small and unassuming, but it would have to be to fit that need. The West 8 Pier would be one of the few places in St. Petersburg where you could go and feel like you’ve at least partially escaped from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The fact that the pavilion is on an island reinforces that concept. Pedestrians don’t walk out onto a pier, which would by definition be an extension of the city. They travel to a completely different island, which symbolizes a literal separation from the city.
Out on the pier, visitors will be surrounded on all sides by the ocean. They will be able to walk across the circular, Colosseum-esque structure that dominates the island. Its simple, curving white design magnifies the peaceful atmosphere.
The West 8 Pier could not possibly be more different than the Lens and BIG. It’s not as flashy, but it’s no less impressive. The West 8 Pier would be an excellent contribution to the city of St. Petersburg.