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Competition: National Pulse Memorial & Museum – Orlando

The onePULSE Foundation has launched an international contest for a new $45 million memorial and museum dedicated to the victims and survivors of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting (Deadline: 30 April)

The two-stage contest, curated by Dovetail Design Strategists, will select a design team to deliver a new memorial, museum and ‘Survivors Walk’ commemorating the terrorist attack on the Pulse gay nightclub which killed 49 people and wounded 68 others.

Six shortlisted teams will each receive $50,000 to draw up design concepts following a request for qualifications round. The contest comes a year after an ‘Ideas Generator’ was held to promote debate over the future of the prominent South Orange Avenue site which has been closed since the mass shooting and is now surrounded by a commemorative hoarding.

Pulse Nightclub, Orlando

Pulse Nightclub, Orlando

Pulse Nightclub, Orlando

In its brief the foundation says: ‘This international design competition challenges architects across the globe to create an iconic National Pulse Memorial and Museum that will include a pedestrian pathway, called Survivors Walk, that will trace the three-block journey many victims and survivors took the night of the tragedy to get to the Orlando Regional Medical Centre.

‘Inspired by community feedback, onePULSE plans to build the National Pulse Memorial & Museum – slated to open in 2022 – on the site of the Pulse nightclub and nearby properties. The Pulse building, which stands on what is now considered sacred ground, will be integrated into the overall design of the memorial as envisioned by the winning design team – serving as a powerful reminder of that night’s terror. The focus of the memorial will be the victims, the survivors, and the first responders, not the tragic event.’

The Pulse gay nightclub was attacked by a lone gunman on 12 June who killed 49 people and wounded 68 others in the deadliest attack in the United States since 911.

The onePULSE Foundation was created by the owner of the nightclub to create a fitting memorial and museum for all those affected following the terrorist and hate crime incident. An ‘Ideas Generator’ open call was held last year to identify a range of concepts for the site.

Pulse Nightclub, Orlando

Pulse Nightclub, Orlando

Source: Image by Dix.Hite + Partners

Pulse Nightclub, Orlando

The project, planned to complete in 2022, will deliver a landmark new 2,800m² museum providing an ‘architecturally iconic place for remembrance, education, inspiration and hope’ with public gathering and community spaces.

A ‘Survivors Walk’ connecting important local landmarks associated with the tragic event and a memorial ‘open to the public year-round, seven-days a week, 24-hours a day’ will also be delivered.

The first phase invites participants to form ‘visionary, multi-disciplinary’ teams featuring urban designers, landscape architects and exhibition designers and respond to a request for qualifications. During the second phase finalists will draw up concepts designs which will be exhibited to the public.

An overall winner will be announced in October.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for applications is 3pm local time (EST) on 30 April

Contact details

onePULSE Foundation
PO Box 530036
Orlando, Fl 32853-0036

Email: competitions@dovetailstrategists.com

Visit the competition website for more information

Q&A with Susanna Sirefman

The president of Dovetail Design Strategists discusses her ambitions for the contest

Susanna Sirefman

Susanna Sirefman

Susanna Sirefman

Why are you holding an international competition for a National Pulse Memorial & Museum?

onePULSE Foundation’s credo, ‘We will not let hate win,’ has powerfully driven the design and structure of the international design competition that my firm, Dovetail Design Strategists was privileged to create. The shooting at Pulse nightclub was the largest and deadliest act of violence affecting LGBTQ+ people, and one of the deadliest terrorist attacks by a single gunman in modern American history.

The world watched and stood in solidarity alongside Orlando. The future National Pulse Memorial & Museum will be a place of global significance and Dovetail has crafted an international competition that will attract the field’s very best design minds and expertise, and that will enable onePULSE to thoughtfully select a concept design that is true to its credo, honors all those affected by the tragedy and inspires education and change.

What is your vision for the new National Pulse Memorial & Museum?

Design excellence is incredibly important for every aspect of this project. onePULSE envisions an architecture that is iconic and will stand the test of time. This is a historic moment and earlier this year, US Congress filed a bill designating the future memorial as the National Pulse Memorial.

Local area plan

Local area plan

Source: Image by Dix.Hite + Partners

Local area plan

The memorial will be part of three distinct project elements: memorial, museum and a pedestrian pathway, called Survivors Walk that will trace the three-block journey many victims and survivors took the night of the tragedy to get to the Orlando Regional Medical Centre. The focus of the memorial will be the victims, the survivors, and first responders, not the tragic event. The memorial will be free and open to the public year-round, seven-days a week, 24-hours a day. One of the most unique design requirements of the memorial will be the incorporation of music as Pulse was a nightclub where people went to hear music, dance and be joyful.

The museum will be a place for remembrance, education, inspiration and hope. Downtown Orlando is going through an exciting transformation right now and we imagine this project will have a huge positive impact on that growth.

The foundation’s vision for the project was informed by both the Memorial Survey onePULSE launched in 2017, which received over 2,200 responses and a public Ideas Generator that collected input from a broad range of stakeholders.

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

The two-stage design competition my firm, Dovetail Design Strategists has crafted seeks highly-qualified, visionary teams with collective, deep experience working in the cultural sector and in urban settings. onePULSE is looking for the world’s best architects, urban designers, landscape architects, exhibition designers and artists.

Contest site

Contest site

Source: Image by Dix.Hite + Partners

Contest site

Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?

Once the Jury has selected a winning team, it is onePULSE’s intent to commission that team to design all three aspects of this project. The competition requires each team to have architecture, urban design, landscape design and exhibition design expertise because onePULSE is committed to a holistic project approach and plans to build the memorial, museum and Survivors Walk concurrently. The goal for project completion is 2022.

Are there any other recent memorial and museum projects you have been impressed or inspired by?

Over the last six months, in order to better understand how similar institutions look, feel, and function, onePULSE has toured related memorials around the country including: Flight 93 National Memorial, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, The Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, Washington D.C., The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and National September 11 Memorial & Museum, New York, New York.

The stories behind the development of each of these places has been very informative and further reinforce onePULSE’s wish to create a place that is ultimately uplifting and will serve as a catalyst for change.