Reinventing the Face of Tragedy: Architects Plan a Revamp of the Dallas Holocaust Museum

Architecture Southwest
Front exterior. (Courtesy Dallas Holocaust Museum)

Front exterior. (Courtesy Dallas Holocaust Museum)

Commemorating history’s most infamous mass genocide, the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance in the West End of downtown Dallas is relocating to a new home directly across the street.

"Reflective" courtyard (Courtesy Dallas Holocaust Museum)

“Reflective” courtyard (Courtesy Dallas Holocaust Museum)

Soon to occupy a land plot hedged by Ross Avenue, Houston St. and the Dallas Area Rapid Translight light-rail tracks, the new museum will boast roomier dimensions than its current 6,000 square feet of exhibition space, providing much-needed leeway for growth and updating of exhibitions. Detailed plans and project costs are hitherto hush-hush, with fundraising still in the pipeline. “It’s too early to commit to an ultimate cost or size, except that it would be substantially larger,” CEO Mary Pat Higgins told The Dallas Morning News.

Lobby interior (Courtesy Dallas Holocaust Museum)

Lobby interior (Courtesy Dallas Holocaust Museum)

Early renderings bode a concrete and weathered steel structure vastly more design-minded than the current humdrum brick building, where the museum was founded in 1984 by recently deceased concentration camp survivor Mike Jacobs. He had spoken and written widely about his deleterious ordeal. Featuring high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows in the lobby area, the new U-shaped museum will be built around a courtyard designated as a “reflective area.” The exhibition space will be the first to go up, with the remainder of the building to be built around it.

Michael Berenbaum, former director of the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. has a stake in plans for the new facility, with his firm, the Berenbaum Group, having already completed the initial stage of exhibition design. The exterior, meanwhile, will be the handiwork of Dallas-based architecture firm Omniplan, which was selected to design the facility following an architecture competition held by the museum. “Given all that is happening in the world today and the constant and destructive force of hatred and prejudice, we are more convinced than ever that North Texas needs this museum,” the Dallas Holocaust Museum said in a statement.

Aerial view of the new building (Courtesy Dallas Holocaust Museum)

Aerial view of the new building (Courtesy Dallas Holocaust Museum)

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