A Phoenix Rises


The day before the Florida governor instructed us all to stay at home, our Orlando Architecture Foundation Board was invited along with the AIA to a presentation by the Pulse Nightclub memorial foundation, the onePULSE Foundation. The museum and memorial they are shaping promises to be a striking addition to our skyline and an inviting respite for the SODO (south-of-downtown) neighborhood, as you can see it will stand tall above I-4.

This Museum they are creating, while honoring the tragedy that night 4 years ago, will also be home to a robust education center with annual scholarships honoring the 49 who lost their lives that night. Programs will also help the families and communities affected by the Pulse tragedy and serve as an important place for dialogue and education acting as a catalyst for positive change. It will be central to realizing onePULSE Foundation’s credo that “We will not let hate win.”


Its mission will focus on Social Equality, as people seem to forget all too soon and return to their biases. Earl S. Mowatt PhD, their Vice President of Education, outlined their mission of spreading equality, and should soon be announcing their first scholarships to high school and college students, working to help spread acceptance of all peoples. Orlando is growing up.


There are three parts to the construction plans, “the program”, as architects like to label it. We have already revealed the tower, with its museum and education center, shaded outdoor assembly space, it promises a spiral ramp, shaded by the slatted wrap, leading up to a celestial observation and meditation garden, with a view across the city.

“To create and support a memorial that opens hearts, a museum that opens minds, educational programs that open eyes and legacy scholarships that open doors.” (onePulse Mission)


The second component, the Orlando Health Survivors Walk, will trace the three-block journey many victims and first responders took the night of the tragedy to get to Orlando Regional Medical Center and will extend north to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. This beautiful promenade already under implementation by the city will knit a large area together for walking and biking, with a Lymo program expansion for the enjoyments of residents and visitors for years to come.


The first stage of the competition was launched in March 2019, and garnered 68 submissions from 19 countries. The process was led by Dovetail Design Strategists, a leading national independent architect selection firm. Those 68 submissions of requested information about interested team qualifications were reviewed. Narrowed down to six finalist teams, advancing to stage II, who then developed and presented designs, which were displayed at the Orange County History Center for a public comment period in early October.


A blue-ribbon Jury comprised of onePULSE community members, civic decision-makers, global thought leaders and world-renowned architects selected Coldefy with RDAI | HHCP following the design exhibition, weighing the comments from the public viewing. Informed by over 2,300 comments from victim’s families, survivors, first responders and the public, the Jury felt their design best reflected the interests expressed by the community, demonstrated design excellence, inventiveness, creativity and alignment with onePULSE’s core values.

The third piece of the plan, is to build the National Pulse Memorial on the site of the Pulse nightclub. A reflecting pool will encircle the Pulse building, which will be at the heart of this quiet meditative space. In memory of the 49 victims, a palette of 49 colors line the basin and radiate towards a peaceful garden planted with 49 trees. There will be shade and seating for memorial events.


“Establishing a sanctuary of healing and a beacon of hope by memorializing the lives taken, the lives saved and all the lives affected by the Pulse nightclub tragedy of June 12, 2016 – ensuring Pulse’s legacy of love lives on forever.” (onePulse Vision)

Check the onePulse website for more information as the work progresses. Coldefy with RDAI and local HHCP architects have already started working to further refine the design based on the community feedback. The memorial and museum are projected to open in 2022. The memorial will be free and open to the public year-round.


Here is the link to the one pulse page where you can also see the five other thoughtful designs, that were submitted: https://onepulsefoundation.org/design-construction/


And the inspiring video of the winning Design on this page: https://onepulsefoundation.org/design-construction/coldefy-associes-with-rdai-xavier-veilhan-ducks-sceno-agence-ter-prof-laila-farah/

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