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A Memorial for the Fallen in Florida

Orlando, Florida
by Caleb LipTak / Dix.Hite + Partners

To help honor the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando in 2016, landscape architecture firm, Dix.Hite + Partners, provided pro bono design services, labor and plan coordination for a temporary memorial. The firm's responsibilities included landscape architectural design, graphic design, fabrication, exhibit design and public/taskforce outreach.
The final design was the result of meetings between Dix.Hite and a task force formed for the project, research of other temporary memorials, survey responses from survivors, victims' families, the community and others, and time and financial realities.

After the Pulse Nightclub tragedy shook Orlando in 2016, Dix.Hite + Partners responded to the community's desire for a comforting space to mourn. The landscape architecture firm, in conjunction with a team of stakeholders, created a vision for a temporary memorial to serve the community until a permanent memorial was built.

The design is inspired by patterns of use observed on the site prior to construction and the vibrancy of the original nightclub. Directing the flow of movement, using artful lighting, focusing interaction and addressing the ground plane were key elements to the design approach.

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the interim memorial has received over 100,000 visits to date. The design approach was framed from a four-point strategy: interaction, ground plane, lighting, and movement. The design suggests movement through the space by providing two entry points into the site. From the Esther Street entry, visitors are met with the perforated aluminum offering walls, which orient them and offer immediate opportunity to place memorial objects at the site. The offering walls help steer visitors on their journey through the site. The placement and form of the walls also provides comfort by protecting visitors from the adjacent busy streets, allowing the opportunity to relax and reflect in peace.

The design process began with meeting with the taskforce to understand their dream/vision for the project, then doing research into other temporary memorial sites. A survey was conducted to understand what the community, survivors, victims' families and others wanted to see from the memorial. Design iterations were completed with community stakeholders and the taskforce. At first, there were 15-20 concepts, but as the design process progressed, there were fewer and fewer iterations due to the temporary nature of the memorial and the specificity of materials needed to fit within time and cost constraints of the project.

In designing the interim memorial, Dix.Hite provided landscape architectural design, graphic design, fabrication, exhibit design and public/taskforce outreach. All in all, Dix.Hite + Partners performed all design services, labor and coordination pro bono. Today, multiple Dix.Hite team members sit on the Design and Construction Committee for the OnePULSE Foundation - aiding in the selection process for the team that will eventually design and construct the permanent memorial and museum at the site.

As seen in LASN magazine, October 2019.

Filed Under: PRO BONO, FLORIDA, ORLANDO, MEMORIAL, LASN

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November 19, 2019, 4:42 am PDT

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