6 teams from around the world to submit designs for final Pulse memorial, museum

Public can view, comment on designs in October

By Adrianna Iwasinski - Investigative Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - The future of what the Pulse Memorial and Museum will look like now lies in the hands of six teams.

The six groups are architect-led design teams from all over the world.

Each team had to send in a 30-page booklet outlining its design team, experience and idea how architecture and design can embody the Pulse mission, "We cannot let hate win."

Top architecture firms, artists and landscape architects from around the world entered the competition. Their challenge is to design both a memorial, museum and pedestrian pathway called Survivors Walk on the site of the Pulse nightclub and nearby properties. It will all be dedicated to honor and remember the 49 men and women who died and the dozens who were injured and affected by the 2016 tragedy.
It began with a two-month search that brought in 68 submissions from 19 different countries.

Pulse owner and OnePULSE Foundation CEO Barbara Poma will be one of 15 people on the jury that will help pick the winning team and design.

The jury is comprised of OnePULSE stakeholders, civic decision-makers, global thought-leaders and world-renowned architects.

Poma said she was impressed with all the teams and submissions they received.

"[I was] really blown away by where they came from, by their submissions and how much thought and intention were put in each submission," Poma said. "We are just excited to see that the world still stands with us three years later."

In the competition guidelines, the OnePULSE Foundation laid out certain guidelines and suggests for the original nightclub to be used in some way. It also states the desire for a 30,000 sq. ft. museum that will be located at a different site. The foundation hopes to choose an urban design that can connect to Orlando's downtown.

Pulse survivor Ricardo Negron said he will never forget that night inside the Pulse nightclub, and hopes to embody the importance of the grounds within the memorial.

He will now be one of the 15 people who will help decide what will become of the sacred ground.

"It’s a very humbling experience," Negron said. "They are amazing world-class talents. We have teams that are comprised of people from coast to coast and all over the world."

Negron said some of the submissions he saw personally moved him.

"Some teams, you felt like they were speaking to you directly," said Negron. "You could feel how much they care. How much every little detail, how much it meant for them. So we know that they are capable of coming up with some great pieces of architecture landscape design, monuments. So now we are waiting to see what they can bring us - for the community here."

Negron said he would like to see all the pictures currently displayed around the Pulse nightclub building to be incorporated in some way into the final memorial or museum plan.

"All of these pictures that represent what the community was feeling right after I think is important," Negron said. "Even if it doesn't go into the final design itself, that it could be preserved in some way or another because it is a testament of how our community came together and the strength of our community in a moment of darkness."

Over the next few months, the design teams will meet with OnePULSE leadership, a victim liaison and Negron to help inform their proposals. A visit to the site is planned for this summer. 

The deadline for the final design submission is set for the end of September.

The Orange County Regional History Center will hold a public exhibition of all six designs for public viewing and comment in early October, and to announce the winning team by the end of the month.

Poma says the goal is to have the National Pulse Memorial and Museum and Survivor Walk built by June 2022.

You can also see it and give your thoughts on the onePULSE design competition on their website.

These are the six finalists:

Coldefy & Associés with RDAI
With  Xavier Veilhan, dUCKS scéno, Agence TER, Prof. Laila Farah
Recent project: Educational Hong Kong Design Institute

DS+R
Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rene Gonzalez Architects with Raymond Jungles, Inc.
Recent project: The London Center for Music 

heneghan peng architects 
With Gustafson Porter + Bowman, Sven Anderson & Pentagram
Recent project: The Grand Egyptian Museum

MASS Design Group
With Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Sasaki, Sanford Biggers, Richard Blanco, Porsha Olayiwola
Recent project: United States Holocaust Museum

MVRDV
With Grant Associates, GSM Project and Studio Drift
Recent project: Canadian Olympic Experience

Studio Libeskind 
With Claude Cormier + Associés, Thinc and Jenny Holzer
Recent project: World Trade Center Master Plan

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