Sunday, August 25, 2019

Removing the Pulse banner

The City of Orlando had local artists submit work for a banner that went on the fence surrounding the Pulse Nightclub after the shooting. A black fabric had covered the fence and people cut holes in that fabric to get a glimpse of the bullet holes in the walls of the club. The new colorful banner was covered in memorial items and signatures from visitors from around the world by the time it was taken down. I went to the site with the staff of the Orange County Regional History Center and helped clean up the dead flowers and wax while they collected items to preserve in the museums collection.

AS they started to roll up the banner, removing it from the fence I went to the furthest spot to sketch it before it was cone. Channel 9 News had showed up to get footage for their broadcast as well. They seemed curious about what I was doing and I answered a few questions as I continued to sketch. The History museum staff had come in their van and a U-Haul to handle the collections process. The club owner Barbara Poma was also there to answer any questions. The reason the banner was being removed and large items taken away was because an interim memorial with landscaping had been designed for the site. In the following weeks construction would begin on that interim memorial.

The City of Orlando offered to buy the Pulse nightclub for $2.5 million but Barbara decided to keep the property and formed the onePULSE Foundation to create a permanent memorial and museum on the site. $10 million was awarded to onePULSE to break ground on the project. The funds were afforded through hotel-tax revenues by the Orange County Board of County Commissioners. The funding, which was unanimously approved by the BCC's members, will be used to acquire land and create designs for a proposed museum.

Design firms are being vetted and a site chosen for the proposed museum. Six big name design firms were short listed for the design of the memorial and museum. The teams where found after a two-month search that brought in 68 submissions from 19 different countries. No actual Pulse designs were submitted. The firms were chosen based on past projects.

The finalists are:
Coldefy and Associés with RDAI, Xavier Veilhan, dUCKS scéno, Agence TER, and Professor Laila Farah;

Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rene Gonzalez Architect with Raymond Jungles, Inc.;

heneghan peng architects, Gustafson Porter + Bowman, Sven Anderson, and Pentagram;

MASS Design Group, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Sasaki, Sanford Biggers, Richard Blanco, and Porsha Olayiwola;

MVRDV, Grant Associates, GSM Project, and Studio Drift;

Studio Libeskind with Claude Cormier + Associés, Thinc, and Jenny Holzer

According to the onePULSE Foundation, these teams provided the strongest credentials, relevant experience, and most compelling statements on how architecture can embody the organization’s mandate: “We will not let hate win.”

The six firms are working on designs right now and their work will be on display at the Orange County Regional History Center in October 2019. The public will be invited to see their work. At that time the final judging will occur to pick the final design.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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