Jonathan Dean

Pier on Twelve-Mile Bayou

From our client’s lake-side retreat the morning sun of the vernal and autumnal equinoxes rises across the waters of Twelve-Mile Bayou directly beyond the distant skyline of downtown Shreveport, Louisiana.

In celebration of the times of the year when when the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the sun’s disk simultaneous to the intersection of the sola ecliptic and the celestial equator, our client requested a structure from which to observe and reflect on the earth’s path through the universe and pragmatically, provide a platform for socializing, fishing, boating, swimming, watching, and launching fireworks, etc/

Design Challenge

The primary challenge was to design a pier to sit lightly in its environment. Foundations on land are two short/simple mass footings on pilings installed next to an existing seawall. Constructing the foundations in the lake were more interesting: requiring two temporary coffer dams, pumping water out of the enclosure, excavating sediment, placing pilings, placing gravel on the bottom, placing a layer of hydraulic cement, forming and pouring the footings, constructing forms for the concrete pylon bases, installing reinforcing and pouring concrete into the forms then removing the forms and lifting the coffer dams. Installing the steel superstructure was straightforward and fast. All parts were pre-fabricated. The steel pylons erected first, the two cantilevered steel beams next, cross members attached, the bench beams attached to the pylons, the awning steel beams next, cables installed and tensioned, temporary supports removed and wood decking, seating, louvers and coatings last. On-site, an axial alignment with the equinoxes allows the pier to project seventy feet into the lake, threading between and projecting beyond the beautiful Bald-cypress trees hugging the shoreline. Subsequent phases will include an accessory dwelling unit near the pier, outdoor patios. a floating platform for swimming and sun bathing. Then, as the final phase, a new main house constructed in similar aesthetic to the pier.