The winners have been announced in a global competition to design a memorial set to be built on the site of the Pulse nightclub.
The competition was held by the onePULSE Foundation with the purpose of selecting a design team to realize a permanent memorial to honor the victims and survivors of the Pulse shooting, which took place on Sunday June 12, 2016 when a 29-year-old security guard entered the Orlando gay night club with two semi-automatic weapons and opened fire on the crowd. 49 people were killed and 68 wounded. The gunman was shot and killed by police after a three-hour standoff. It was at the time the largest mass shooting in US history, and it remains the nation’s deadliest attack targeting LGBTQ people to date.
The onePULSE Foundation was established, according to its mission statement, “to create a sanctuary of hope following the tragic day in American history… to honor the 49 angels that were taken, the 68 others who were injured and the countless first responders and healthcare professionals who treated them.
“This fund is intended to support a memorial that opens hearts, a museum that opens minds, educational programs that open eyes and endowed scholarships that open doors. All donations will be used for the construction and operation of the National memorial and museum, educational programs and 49 Legacy Scholarships. This is a defining mission and healing initiative that we hope inspires supporters who share our vision and understand the solemn and sacred responsibility to which this community has been entrusted.”
The design was chosen out of 68 submissions from 19 countries. It was selected by a blue-ribbon jury comprised of onePULSE community members, civic decision-makers, global thought leaders and world-renowned architects following a public viewing and comment period in early October. Informed by over 2,300 comments from victim’s families, survivors, first responders and the public, the Jury felt the winning concept best reflected the interests expressed by the community, demonstrated design excellence, inventiveness, creativity and alignment with onePULSE’s core values.
The winning design concept was created by Coldefy & Associés with RDAI, Orlando-based HHCP Architects, Xavier Veilhan, dUCKS scéno, Agence TER, and Prof. Laila Farah. It features looping paths, a reflecting pool, and a garden planted with 49 trees — all created in a color palette of 49 colors. The museum, which will be located at 438 West Kaley Street, will feature interactive sculptures, vertical gardens, and a rooftop promenade.
Barbara Poma, a former co-owner of the club and the CEO of the onePULSE Foundation, created the nonprofit in the wake of the shooting. In a statement, she said the site, which will include a memorial and a museum, will serve as both a gathering place and educational center. She expressed her hope that it would teach “visitors and future generations [about] the profound impact the tragedy had on Orlando, the U.S., and the world.”
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, a member of the jury that selected the winning design, also issued a statement calling this unveiling an important step for the community.
“We will never bring back the 49 innocent victims whose lives were taken on June 12, 2016, or erase the pain that the horrific act brought to so many,” he said, “but the establishment of this memorial is an important part of our community healing process.”
A temporary memorial (also created by onePULSE is currently located on the site. The new permanent memorial, as well as the nearby museum, will begin construction in 2021, with a projected opening in 2022.