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National Pulse Memorial and Museum design winner announced

National Pulse Memorial and Museum

The National Pulse Memorial and Museum will tower six stories over downtown Orlando and include public plazas, gardens, and an open-air museum. The project will honor the 49 victims who were killed and 68 survivors who were injured during the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre. Photos: Coldefy & Associés with RDAI_onePULSE Foundation

The National Pulse Memorial and Museum will tower six stories over downtown Orlando and include public plazas, gardens, and an open-air museum. The project will honor the 49 victims who were killed and 68 survivors who were injured during the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre.

That concept proposal won a design contest and was selected last week, said the onePulse Foundation, the nonprofit group established to honor and preserve the memory of the victims and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

National Pulse Memorial, Museum

“This is a deeply meaningful project that reminds us how much architecture and landscape can influence our behavior and have an impact on our community,” architect Thomas Coldefy, principal of Coldefy & Associés, said in a statement about the winning concept design. “Together, we have an opportunity to reclaim a place from terror and darkness and create a new reality, one that brings people together in celebration of joy and love.”

National Pulse Memorial and Museum

This concept design shows the National Pulse Memorial and Museum. In the foreground, the former Pulse nightclub is integrated into the Memorial. At the top, the Museum towers six stories and offers a rooftop promenade with views of the Museum. The Memorial and Museum are approximately 1/3 of a mile apart.

Design contest

The jury who selected the design concept included survivors and family members and friends who lost loved ones in the nightclub shooting.

The winning concept design will serve as a starting point for discussion and a basis for the design, but is not the final memorial and museum. Over the next year, the winning architects will refine the designs based on community feedback, the foundation said.

The National Pulse Memorial and Museum is projected to cost $45 million. The onePulse Foundation has raised $16 million, $10 million of that amount is from public funds.

Launched in March, the design competition garnered 68 submissions from 19 countries. The submissions were narrowed to six finalist teams who developed concept designs for a public exhibition and comment period that took place in Orlando, Florida, in early October. More than 2,000 public comments were collected.

Pulse nightclub shooting

The Pulse shooting, which took place June 12, 2016, is the deadliest incident of violence against LGBTQ people in United States’ history. Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, opened fire at Pulse nightclub, spraying interior with bullets.

When the gunshots finally stopped, more than three hours later, 20 victims were dead on the blood soaked dance floor and 13 were filled in the bathrooms while waiting for medical help, among other fatalities, according to an Orlando police report.

Memorial includes nightclub

The nightclub will be integrated into the memorial, which features a reflecting pool encircling the Pulse building. 

In memory of the 49 victims, a palette of 49 colors lines the basin and radiates toward a garden with 49 trees.

The design also envisions a spiraling, six-story, open-air museum and educational center with vertical gardens, public plazas, and a rooftop promenade.

To open 2022

The museum and education center will be located about ⅓ of a mile from the memorial.

The Orlando Health Survivors Walk will trace the three-block journey many victims and first responders took the night of the shooting to arrive at the Orlando Regional Medical Center.

The memorial and museum are projected to open in 2022.

The memorial will be free and open to the public year-round. An admission cost for the museum has not yet been announced.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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