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Competition: Pulse Memorial & Museum, Orlando

The onePULSE Foundation is seeking concepts for a new memorial and museum dedicated to the victims and survivors of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting (Deadline: 31 August)

The call-for-ideas seeks ‘big, broad ideas’ for a new memorial, museum and public space commemorating the terrorist attack on the Pulse gay nightclub which killed 49 people and wounded 53 others.

The ‘Ideas Generator’ aims 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

Source: Image by Michael Rivera

Pulse Nightclub, Orlando

In its brief the foundation says: ‘We recognise that there are many approaches that could result in a brilliant and successful environment that will educate and inspire our community – and all of our visitors into the future. We ask for your help in tackling this very challenging task. Rough ideas or more polished proposals are welcome. Note that this is not a design competition, but a request for ideas.

‘We want to think clearly and carefully as we proceed, but we are also open to the greatest amount of creativity and innovation imaginable. Before stepping forward with concrete plans for the design we want your assistance in thinking through this very important process and are very thankful for your generous participation. The point of the Ideas Generator is not to select a “winner,” but rather to allow for a powerful exchange between you and the onePULSE Foundation. At a later date we will announce an RFP for the actual project.’

The Pulse gay nightclub was attacked by a lone gunman on 12 June who killed 49 people and wounded 53 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. The Ideas Generator aims to identify a range of concepts for the site.

Proposals should consider the relationship between the museum and memorial, how surrounding public spaces and landscaping will be integrated and the potential for a ‘Survivor’s Walk’ linking the site with the nearby Orlando Emergency Health Centre.

Submissions should include four digital pages no larger than 10MB in size. No single winner will be announced but submissions will feature in an exhibition intended to promote discussion about the future memorial.

How to apply


The deadline for applications is 31 August

Contact details

onePULSE Foundation
PO Box 530036
Orlando, Fl 32853-0036

Tel: 407-775-2437

Visit the competition website for more information

Q&A with Hilary Lewis

The board member at onePULSE Foundation discusses her ambitions for the call-for-ideas

Hilary Lewis

Hilary Lewis

Source: Image by Robin Hill

Hilary Lewis

Why are your holding a call for ideas for a Pulse Memorial & Museum?

The tragedy at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando in June 2016 has resonated with people around the globe. The onePULSE Foundation knows there are individuals everywhere who would like to make their ideas known and we are eager to hear from them concerning how we should consider our options for producing a memorial and museum at the site of the former Pulse Nightclub. From the start, we have followed a process marked by openness and inclusion. Our design approach continues that.

The Ideas Generator is NOT a competition; it’s a call for communication. Both the Foundation and the Design & Construction Committee of the Foundation are aware that we have an extraordinary opportunity to build a special place that will combine memory with inspiration. However, since this could be accomplished in so many ways we wanted to be better informed before proceeding with the RFP. For example, should the memorial be completely distinct from the museum? How should landscape be incorporated into the program? How should the existing structure be incorporated, if at all? We know we don’t have all the answers – at least not yet.

What is your vision for the new Pulse Memorial and Museum?

What we do know right now is that we must honour the memory of those 49 ‘angels’ who were lost. We also want to educate and inspire visitors so that the story of what happened is known, while encouraging discussion and understanding that we deeply hope may lead to more enlightened times when gun violence and hate is far diminished. How to do that with elegance, compassion and the ability to uplift those who make the effort to visit the site is our challenge.

Obviously, once we release the RFP, details concerning square footage and program will be fully detailed. However, we are not there yet, which is why we are looking to engage those generous enough to contribute their ideas to us now. We are looking for assistance in thinking through this complex problem.

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

Of course, we would be delighted to receive responses from architects, designers and artists with experience and knowledge. However, we are not limiting our request in any way. Small practices, individuals and even those not professionally engaged in design are welcome to contact us via the Ideas Generator. We are looking for broad concepts, suggestions and ideas from all who are concerned about this process. A quick sketch, a series of comments or a more developed scheme are all welcome.

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

The Foundation has toured important memorials to gain both an understanding of how these are now utilized as well as how their respective organisations made these a reality. We have examined those of significant scale, such as the 911 Memorial & Museum and the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum, as well as smaller installations, such as the newly unveiled Pulse Memorial in New York, which was established by state and local government in New York and designed by artist Anthony Goicolea.

We have seen how effective both small-scale and massive installations can be. It is our goal to provide something of both beauty and emotion that will effectively convey not only the tragic story of what took place in Orlando in June 2016, but also speaks to the strength, community and future of those who believe in a far better future for all of us.

We have requested submissions to reach us by August 31, 2018. After that time, we will focus on the challenge of establishing a full RFP that we hope architects, designers and artists worldwide will find of interest. The Ideas Generator is the first step towards getting ready for the launch of the RFP, which will be announced later this year.


Memorial to Bali victims case study: Q&A with Gary Breeze and Martin Cook

The sculptors discuss lessons learned designing a monument to the victims of the 2002 Bali bombings

Memorial to Bali victims by Gary Breeze and Martin Cook

Memorial to Bali victims by Gary Breeze and Martin Cook

Memorial to Bali victims by Gary Breeze and Martin Cook

How did your project deliver an appropriate memorial in London for the victims of the 2002 Bali Bombings?

The London memorial to the victims of the Bali Bombing is situated in an architecturally sensitive part of central Westminster, flanked by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Treasury and close to the historical entrance to the Cabinet War Rooms. For this reason I was tasked with designing a memorial that would be very low key (almost invisible) – certainly any large form of statue would be out of the question. Hearing the need of the victims’ families to have their grief noticed and understood I tested the limits of my original brief and submitted a proposal for a large stone globe carved with 202 doves, each one representing a victim. The globe would sit quite dominantly within the site. It was felt that this idea was appropriate because it satisfied the victims’ families but was politically sensitive in concept, being merely an image of world peace.

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

In order that this now rather more dominant memorial was our proposal it was important to choose a palette of materials that would complement those already in use around the site. The granite, although from Germany, resembles British granite from Cornwall and the other material is Portland limestone from which all the main buildings in Westminster are constructed. The image of the world and the dove are universal symbols.

Memorial to Bali victims by Gary Breeze and Martin Cook

Memorial to Bali victims by Gary Breeze and Martin Cook

Memorial to Bali victims by Gary Breeze and Martin Cook

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing a memorial to the Orlando nightclub shooting victims?

Our advice would be to be sure that the memorial is respectful and relevant to the victims and their families above all other considerations. It should also respect the LGBT community whilst not drawing attention to the political cause and purpose of the attackers. It would have to be a subtle balance. memorials often are.