The Lens is connected to the shore by two narrow causeways, which criss-cross one another and sweep out into Tampa Bay, circling wide and thickening to form the bulk of the eco real estate structure itself. The Lens is shaped like a tiara, with the outermost edge forming a crowning crest. The most striking feature, however, is the great transparent base–a lens–that allows visitors to look in on the marine life below.
The Lens “frames the City’s relationship to the water,” explained Maltzen in his proposal, “changing how St. Petersburg views its present and its future.”
The eco real estate will use part of the existing pier to create a new aquatic reef. About 2.5 acres of oyster habitat and seagrass will be installed underwater, forming an ecosystem where marine life like manatees, mollusks, fish and turtles can thrive. The oyster habitat should be capable of cleaning about 20 million gallons of water every day.
The Lens will live up to its eco real estate plans by creating energy with solar panels and wind turbines, and utilizing a rainwater collection system.
Truly connecting the city with the sea, the eco real estate calls for a loop to reach out on the docks toward downtown St. Petersburg, mirroring the one that reaches out into Tampa Bay. An intertidal pathway will stretch out into the water, disappearing at high tide, but allowing visitors to explore tidal pools when the water recedes.
Construction on the eco real estate is set to begin in 2013.
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