2021 Merit Award

General Design Small Firm

The Pier Approach

St Petersburg, FL

Landscape Architect:

W Architecture and Landscape Architecture, LLC

Project Team:

City of St Petersburg
Wannemacher Jensen Architects
Kimley Horn
Janet Echelman


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About the Project:

The Pier Approach is a 20 acre former parking lot between the downtown and the pier. Our plan reduces roadway and parking, while increasing attractive pedestrian uses that provides a series of events to lure people out towards the pier and the Bay. The design creates three experiences: an urban pedestrian spine that reaches from the downtown to the pier, a family oriented park, and the waterfront edges. The waterfront edges provide a variety of spaces for gathering and interacting with the water, including hard and soft edges. The family park includes a large sculpture by Janet Echelman floating over a central lawn. Surrounding it are stormwater gardens, unique children’s play area, as well as picnic and cafe spaces.

Special Factors & Additional Information:

Voted as USA Today’s Top 3 Best New Attractions of 2020, the Pier Approach offers a diverse range of experiences:


The Urban Spine: Welcome Plaza & Market Pavilion

The pedestrian spine reaches from the City to the Pierhead. At the start of the urban pedestrian spine, the welcome plaza provides both bike share and tram services into the pier district, connecting the pier to the city. A flexible market pavilion extends along the central axis, drawing foot traffic in with local food and produces as well as shade. The canopy roof is made of solar panels. Palms line this iconic entryway.


The Pond & Family Park

A diverse range of active and passive experiences are encouraged in this new


family park: picnics at the waterfront, strolls in the native gardens, a unique play area for all ages, and a pond for local stormwater management, habitat enhancement with a viewing sun deck. The centerpiece is a sculpture by Janet Echelman hanging over the central lawn, called “Bending Arc.” It has become a meeting place for a diverse St Pete population and the heart of the park.


The Waterfront Edges: Marina & Overlook An inviting waterfront edge connects people to the water. A new overlook with seat steps, a view edge with informal amphitheater, a walk along a new transient marina, and a monument to the first commercial airline, are threaded together by a northern and a southern promenade. The loops take you from the southern edge to the center of the park and out again to the far northern edge, the looping path a nice contract to the pier spine.

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