Architect, Biologist – Same Difference

The new Pier design, “The Lens” has underwater sea gardens and a faux-reef type aesthetic. At least, it’s plan on paper does.

“Whoever wrote this doesn’t know a thing about sea grass,” said Margaret “Penny” Hall, the top sea grass expert at the state’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg.

The article points out other discrepencies between the design plan and what’s ecologically possible. However, for the layman, images of the clear water in the Lens’ colorful presentation will immediately stand out as far-fetched.


The Times emailed the designers of the Lens 17 questions about the Underwater Garden project. The questions included “Where will you be getting your Johnson’s grass from?” and “How will you keep waves from nearby boats from affecting the growth in the Underwater Garden?”

The reply from project director Tim Williams to six questions — including the ones about Johnson’s grass and boats — was, “To be determined during the design process.” That was also the answer about whether they still plan to build the tilted sea meadow ring.

So, to summarize, the designer’s response to serious ecological and biological concerns with the engineering feat at hand was corporate-speak. Our determination will overcome any natural barriers, even heavy metal poisoning in the soil underneath the pier and the designed-in heavy boat traffic around the pier.



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