March 25, 2019onePULSE Foundation Announces International Design Competition for National Pulse Memorial & Museum

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onePULSE Foundation, the not-for-profit established by the owner of Pulse nightclub following the June 12, 2016 tragedy, today announced the launch of an international design competition for the National Pulse Memorial & Museum. The open competition will be conducted in two stages and the winning design team – which will be selected by a blue-ribbon jury comprised of onePULSE stakeholders, civic decision-makers, global thought leaders and world-renowned architects – will be announced in October 2019.

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 Center.

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 memorial will be free and open to the public year-round, seven-days a week, 24-hours a day.

“Our Task Force and Board of Trustees have been charged with asking and answering the difficult question of how to honor the lives taken and support the survivors, while ensuring this story is told with accuracy, historical context and educational intention,” said onePULSE Foundation Executive Director Barbara Poma. “We hold the sacred responsibility to create a special place that will tell this story long after we are gone.”

The Pulse Museum will be an architecturally iconic place for remembrance, education, inspiration and hope. The museum will be 30,000 square feet, plus outdoor, public gathering and community spaces. The museum’s program will communicate the events of June 12, 2016, and address the history of LGBTQ and safe spaces and their importance as well as inclusion and diversity. It will also explore how such attacks can be prevented systematically, examine how to make the world a more empathetic and compassionate place, and inspire change, start conversations in new places and serve as catalyst for global discussion and discourse.

“Understanding the context, beauty and historical significance of the response to the horrific terrorist attack on Pulse is the essence of what we seek to memorialize, teach and inspire,” said onePULSE Foundation Board Chair Earl Crittenden, who also noted, “this memorial and museum will also contribute to the overall economic impact of a city that hosts millions of visitors from around the world each year.”

The Survivors Walk will connect the Pulse nightclub site to the Orlando Health Memorial Paver Garden, adjacent to Lake Beauty. Aspects of the Survivors Walk will extend further north to end at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. This open, public space will continue to tell the Pulse story and have a positive urban impact.

The site for this project extends beyond the actual parcels on which the project will be located as the tragedy touched so many lives in Orlando. onePULSE envisions an imprint of the project extending to the west of the Pulse nightclub site along West Kaley Street towards the Highway I-4 exit and extending north along South Orange Avenue culminating at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center.

The project is comprised of  three distinct elements that will be integrated into one recognizable destination: a Memorial that will be a sanctuary of healing and hope that honors the 49 lives taken, their families, the 68 injured victims, all the affected survivors and the first responders and healthcare professionals who cared for the victims; a Museum that will educate, enlighten, inspire reflection and rumination, and start conversations that will change mindsets; and a Survivors Walk that will trace the three-block journey many survivors took the night of the tragedy to get to the Orlando Regional Medical Center.

onePULSE has engaged the country’s leading independent architect selection firm, Dovetail Design Strategists, to develop and direct the design competition. The firm regularly collaborates with important institutions and organizations to lead the architect selection process. Dovetail’s expert process will provide the framework for the selection of a world-class design team worthy of onePULSE’s historic undertaking.

“onePULSE Foundation’s credo, ‘We will not let hate win,’ has powerfully driven the design and structure of the international design competition my firm was privileged to create,” said Dovetail Design Strategists President Susanna Sirefman. “We have crafted a competition that will attract the field’s very best design minds and expertise, and it 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,” added Sirefman.

The format for the design competition is as follows:

Stage I: Request for Qualifications

Architects from across the globe are invited to form and lead a visionary, multi-disciplinary team to include urban design, landscape design, and exhibition design professionals as well as artists and respond to the RFQ. The information required from each team, as well as the evaluation criteria can be found at the onePULSE competition website.

The deadline to submit is no later than 3 pm EST on April 30, 2019. onePULSE Foundation will select up to six firms and their proposed teams to participate in Stage II.

Stage II: Design Competition

The selected, shortlisted teams will be invited to develop a concept design for the project and will have the opportunity to meet with onePULSE leadership on two occasions: first for a site tour and informational meeting in Orlando, and again at the stage’s midpoint for an interim review.

An honorarium of $50,000 will be paid to each of the shortlisted teams who have met onePULSE’s Stage II requirements, payable upon selection of a winning team.  There will be a public exhibition of the shortlisted design team submissions in September 2019 at the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando, Florida, and an opportunity for the public to share their comments.  There will be a digital exhibition of the shortlisted teams’ proposals on the onePULSE competition website.

In October 2019, the winning Design Team will be selected by the jury, which will consist of:

  • Mayra Alvear, Victim’s Liaison, Mother of Amanda Alvear, Task Force Advisory Council, onePULSE
  • Mark Cosgrove, Board of Trustees onePULSE, Partner, Capital Strategies
  • Earl Crittenden, Chair, Board of Trustees onePULSE, GrayRobinson, P.A.
  • Yolande Daniels, Principal, studioSUMO
  • Mayor Jerry Demings, Orange County, Florida
  • Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando, Florida
  • Teresa Jacobs, School Board Chair, Orange County Public Schools, former Orange County Mayor
  • George A. Kalogridis, Vice Chair, Board of Trustees onePULSE, President, Walt Disney World
  • Hilary Lewis, Board of Trustees onePULSE, Chief Curator & Creative Director, The Glass House
  • Ricardo J. Negron-Almodovar, Survivor, Service Legal Coordinator, Latino Justice Southeast Office
  • Barbara Poma, Owner, Pulse Nightclub, Founder & CEO, onePULSE
  • Andrew Snyder, Board of Trustees onePULSE, S.V.P., Marketing and Strategic Communications, Orlando Health
  • Laurinda H. Spear, Co-Founder, Arquitectonica, Principal, ArquitectonicaGEO
  • Sarah Whiting, Dean, Rice University School of Architecture, Principal WW Architecture
  • Susanna Sirefman, Competition Director and Jury Advisor, President, Dovetail Design Strategists


About onePULSE Foundation

onePULSE Foundation is a 501(c)(3) incorporated to manage the design and construction of a permanent museum and memorial dedicated to the PULSE tragedy. The museum and memorial will honor the 49 people who were killed there and support families, survivors, and first responders left to pick up the pieces. As part of its mission, onePULSE Foundation will work to help communities emerge from and end violence. For more information, visit here

About Dovetail Design Strategists, LLC

Dovetail Design Strategists is the leading independent architect selection firm in the United States servicing civic, cultural and educational institutions looking for world-class architecture and design excellence.  Dovetail’s founder, Susanna Sirefman, is trained as an architect and draws from extensive knowledge of the latest design and building trends and unmatched access to both emerging and acclaimed talent in the architecture field.  Dovetail’s signature methodology and competitive selection process, tailored to each project, thoughtfully leads its clients to winning designs and inspired architect shortlists as they prepare for growth and enhanced visibility.  For more information, visit here

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