Big Span Structures recently completed an open-air canopy structure at the revitalized St. Petersburg Pier District in St. Petersburg, Fla.

A $92 million waterfront destination spanning 26 acres, the St. Petersburg Pier District features a park-like design that serves as a destination to maximize the city’s connection to the water with amenities including a marketplace, fishing decks, an educational center, an art exhibit, restaurants and more.

Located on the Pier Deck next to the beach, Big Span’s open-air tensile canopy structure protects and shades visitors from the sun and weather elements. The tensioned membrane structure features 1,140 square feet of solid blue PVC membrane with a white painted steel supporting frame.

“The reimagined St. Petersburg Pier is an exciting new destination along the city’s waterfront,” said Michele Taylor, business development manager, Big Span Structures. “We are proud to provide our open-air canopy structure along the Pier Deck to afford guests with a chance to take a break from the weather, while enjoying a picturesque view along the waterfront.”

Big Span’s PVC membrane’s flexible structural fabric is designed to provide protection from the environment while significantly reducing net radiant heat retention to maintain a cool interior temperature, while also providing natural daylighting underneath. Due to its lightweight nature and ability to span long distances, PVC membranes offer substantial cost savings versus traditional construction materials and carry an expected design life from 10 to 20 years.

“Big Span provided the unique balance of technical skill and aesthetic appreciation to deliver an engineered solution that complimented the Pier’s architecture at a budget that we could move forward with,” said Raul Quintana, AIA, city architect, City of St. Petersburg. “With the shade structure adjacent to a beach, it was subject to coastal high hazard conditions resulting in a costly foundation and leaving fewer dollars to spend on maximizing the shade element. The Big Span team worked closely with ASD/SKY and Rogers Partners to accomplish this goal and create not only a needed respite for kids on the beach, but also a beautiful, long lasting addition to our new St. Pete Pier.”