st-pete-pier

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Pier Update, 30 May.

It’s been more than six months since the last above-ground remnants of the Inverted Pyramid have been removed. The entire rectangular pierhead the building sat on has now been removed, and Sonny Glasbrenner crews are now working on the approach.

Intended for future use as the supports for the new building, the inverted pyramid’s five underwater caissons have been retained, as seen in the images below. Each interior corner of the structure was supported by a caisson, as well as the central elevator shaft area.

As for the Pier itself, its concrete and brick paver remains are deposited in the Pelican parking lot, where they await transport to the runways of Albert Whitted airport, where they will form a new and improved breakwater.

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The St Pete Pier in its third week of demolition, September 4, 2015.

Considered cutting-edge architecture when it opened in 1972, the Pier is being replaced by a structure more appropriate for the 21st century.

While the inverted pyramid structure itself is still structurally sound, the approach that it sits on was built in 1926 with the original “Million Dollar” pier and is starting to crumble into the bay.

Interestingly, the demolition removed the base structure added during a major renovation in the late 1980′s. In doing so, the Pier is seen in its near-original, intended form, which was more geometrically symmetrical and eye-pleasing that the final structure. This is evident in the last photo, which shows the base of the pyramidal structure.

The original inverted pyramid structure was designed by William B. Harvard Sr.

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More views of the St. Petersburg Inverted Pyramid Pier shortly after it’s January 20, 1973 opening. These were taken before the major, late-1980′s renovation that significantly changed the base of the structure.

You can also see the rooftop mini-golf that was housed on the 5th floor for several years.

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Pier update, 11 November:

Early this morning, Sonny Glasbrenner demolition teams removed the final, full-height support column of the pier.

This now leaves two complete city-facing stubs measuring 28 feet in height and two half-stubs facing the bay. The bay facing columns were the first to be torn down, and have been reduced only to a single wall on the western side.

During a brief conversation with a reporter at the site today, it was mentioned that the remaining above-ground remnants of the support columns should be removed by either Monday or Tuesday of this coming week.

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The St Petersburg Pier, before and after demolition. The image on the left was taken on February 16, 2015, while the approach and pierhead were still open for public use. In July, these were closed to the public to prepare the site for demolition.

The image on the right was taken today, November 18, 2015, and shows the site less than three days after the last vestiges of the Inverted Pyramid structure were removed.

An icon on St Petersburg’s waterfront is no more; it’s a little bit surreal looking across the bay and not see the familiar, cubical-triangular structure rising above the water. And in less than four months, the pier itself - the whole reason the Pyramid itself was removed - will become a memory.

Both images taken from 58 feet above the ground exactly one kilometer away from the structure.

While scouring the internet for more historical Pier imagery, I came across this brilliant photo mashup of an iconic St Petersburg image.

The original photograph was taken in 1940 and was the basis for a famous St Pete postcard, both of which are seen below. It also happens to be one of my all-time favourite historical images of the city.

This mashup takes that same historic foreground and adds the Inverted Pyramid of modern St Pete, providing a stark and interesting contrast between two eras of our city’s history.

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Pier Update, 4 November: Work has begun to bring down the northeastern caisson, which is bay facing from the perspective of the city. This should be done by either tomorrow or early Friday.

Crews will simultaneously continue to remove material between the structural beams of the other caissons in preparation for their eventual deconstruction.

Architectural model of the replacement for the Million Dollar Pier - the Inverted Pyramid. This was the original design which lasted until a major renovation in the 1980’s significantly expanded the ground level.

It is my opinion that that renovation destroyed the architectural elegance of this design. The current one cluttered the first floor, made it too kitschy  and removed the geometrical grace that this design gives to the eye. There were too many add-ons that really destroyed the concept of a municipal pier.