What Was the Real Inspiration for the 'Lens'

All of that dripping and looping had to come from somewhere.

A lot of thought went into the Pier Visioning process. 

In a letter to Mayor Bill Foster dated June 13, 2012, William Ballard, president of Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg, the group trying to stop the LENS,  wrote the following:

"The Lens is not a pier. The Pier Task Force knew what a pier was and what a pier should be. I urge you to pick up your copy of the Pier Advisory Task Report of June 2010. Turn to page 13 “Case Studies” which contains photographs of seven successful piers. Please read the case study conclusions on that page.  One of
those conclusions is “All have either amusement type program or very specialized program as the predominant draw.” Our Municipal Pier, all the piers studied by the Pier Task Force, and all of the pier alternatives proposed by the Pier Task Force, have the look, feel and “program” of a real pier. It is immediately obvious that The Lens does not have the look and feel of a real pier and it is equally obvious that The Lens will lack the amusement feature which was touted as the predominant draw.  The reef which The Lens was to focus on would not provide much amusement by reason of the natural turbidity of Tampa Bay.  It may be there, but people wouldn’t be able to see it." 

In the Pier Task Force Final Report their Vision of the Pier was: "Our vision is for a vibrant Pier Complex that appeals to both local residents and visitors throughout the year. It should speak to our city’s beautiful aquatic setting, and of spectacular views of our cityscape and the Bay. The Pier should complement the larger downtown waterfront and serve as its front door, centerpiece, and anchor. The architecture of the main building should reflect our history and unique identity as a place and City, and be a worthy symbol of our great City”. 

It sounds to me like the Pier Task Force had it right.

In a paper entitled "The Lens" - We Can do Better, William Ballard  says "Michael Maltzan first set foot in St. Petersburg on September 19, 2011. His contest winning submission was filed by the November 30, 2011 deadline."  

That's just 72 days counting weekends. 

That seemed like a pretty short time window to come up with such an eclectic design. Surely there had to be some motivation for the concept, so I grabbed my camera and headed to the Pier for some inspiration of my own. 

Assuming Maltzan and his team took some time to swing through the Dali museum on the way to the Pier, the pictures above may help explain the motivation and concept. 

 All of that dripping and looping had to come from somewhere.  

City Council, are you really going to build this thing?  Really? 

e-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net, or send me a Facebook Friend request.

Have your say. Be sure to get a petition for the Pier Referendum and complete it properly. Information and schedule of events at Stop The Lens.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

N.A.W. October 17, 2012 at 01:59 PM
WAKE UP CITY COUNCIL! This has gone far enough! Rejecting 23,000 registered voters, lawsuit, yet another petition drive...what will it take? Why are you sacrificing your political careers? WHY? Why is the lens boondoggle SO IMPORTANT TO YOU? It's very simple: Put the question on the ballot like you should have done in the first place! You would have avoided all of this horrible mess you have created. I am totally and completely disgusted with our so called leaders. Every single person I speak with absolutely hates this design! And absolutely every person I speak with will be voting you out of office! STOP THE LENS! www.stopthelens.com
cherylwithac October 17, 2012 at 03:05 PM
We don't need a white elephant like the LENS. As Doc points out, we have a REAL PIER right now, complete with the ability to feed wild pelicans and to take the wonderful Dolphin Cruise (whose captain is absolutely delightful). Those are the REAL FLORIDA activities available at the Pier as it stands. NO TO THE LENS.
Mrcatstpete October 17, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Mrcatstpete It is hard to comprehend why the Mayor and Council keep forging ahead and wasting taxpayer's money on this "Boondoogle" called the Lens when 76% of people polled are against it and over 20,000 voters petitioned against it, these Council people will run for office again and we will not forget!!!!!
Pamela October 25, 2012 at 05:21 AM
It is ugly.why won 't the mayor and councii. take the hint.No lenses.we don't need to pay for this mess.back to the drawing board. Why not like the original pier.Italianate style.
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