Posts tagged with "Orlando":

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Coldefy & Associés and RDAI win design competition for the National Pulse Memorial & Museum

French firm Coldefy & Associés with RDAI and the Orlando-based HHCP Architects have won the international competition to design the National Pulse Memorial & Museum in Florida. The tripartite design beat out the other five shortlisted entries which included heavy-hitting global firms like MVRDV, MASS Design Group, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.  Announced today by the onePULSE Foundation, team Coldefy’s memorial and museum master plan will be dedicated to the 49 angels—those who lost their lives—and survivors of the horrific shooting that occurred at the LGBTQ+ PULSE nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016. French artist Xavier Veilhan, dUCKs scéno, and landscape design practice Agence TER will collaborate as part of the design team, while Laila Farah, professor of women’s and gender studies, as well as peace, justice and conflict studies at DePaul University, will serve as a consultant on the project.   Thomas Coldefy, principal of Coldefy & Associés, called the opportunity a beautiful, collective adventure. “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,” he said in a statement. “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.” The decision to choose Coldefy’s design, which was selected by a jury of onePULSE community members and civic leaders, was based on a month-long commentary period in which victims' families, survivors, first responders, and the public expressed their views on each entry. Led by Dovetail Design Strategies, the competition was launched in March and concluded with today’s design release. A father of a Pulse angel noted how Coldefy’s vision for the masterplan physically lit up what’s been—for three years—a dark part of the city. “The Museum has a lightness in design, but captures what the Pulse museum should be: A place to educate and bring a message of hope to the world,” he said. “...That protruding light up to the sky sends a signal to the world inviting them to come see what Pulse represented.” Towering above Orlando’s upcoming SoDo neighborhood, the open-air museum structure will spiral up and above the memorial site, allowing visitors to climb to the top, where light will illuminate the entire structure at night. The existing nightclub will remain on-site but will be sliced in half, making room for an intimate pathway through the building. A reflecting pool featuring a rainbow-colored basin will surround the club and a gathering space at the back of the memorial will provide moments of respite or quiet conversation.  The design team will also revamp West Kaley Street where the memorial and museum is located, bringing in more room for walking, biking, and public transit. Accessibility will be at the heart of the infrastructure design.  Coldefy is expected to work with the onePULSE Foundation and the community over the next year to refine the design.
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onePULSE Foundation reveals heavy-hitting shortlisted designs for new museum

The onePULSE Foundation and Dovetail Design Strategists have revealed concept designs from the six shortlisted teams chosen to create the upcoming National Pulse Memorial and Museum in Orlando, Florida. Each architect-led team proposed a series of interventions (below) that connect the former PULSE nightclub site with the larger SoDo district and the Orlando Survivor’s Walk.  In honor of the 49 "angels" who died on June 12, 2016, the designers were challenged to embody the foundation’s mantra within the architecture: "We will not let hate win." The public is allowed to comment on the designs here through Friday, October 10. Fly-throughs of the individual projects can be found here as well. Coldefy & Associés with RDAI French firm Coldefy & Associés has envisioned a striking three-pronged design for the onePULSE Foundation that includes a spiraling, open-air museum structure that towers over a renewed West Kaley Street. The memorial site below that is presented as both a lush garden planted with 59 trees and a piece of preserved architecture. Coldefy chose to integrate the existing nightclub into the new design, transforming it with cutouts that allow visitors to walk through the building on an intimate path. A reflecting pool encircling the club would feature a palette of 49 colors in its basin.  The design team has prioritized accessibility, walkability, and biking in its vision for memorial and museum, as well as SoDo. As the neighborhood grows, Coldefy aims to integrate more promenades, bike paths, and room for a shuttle to connect Pulse visitors to the train station. Further collaborators: Xavier Veilhan, dUCKS scéno, Agence TER, and Professor Laila Farah  Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rene Gonzalez Architect with Raymond Jungles, Inc. DS+R’s scheme for the site centers around a contemplative sound garden with 268 reflective columns honoring the survivors. The original club structure will remain and be covered in a beaded shroud while a platform atop it would hold the sanctuary, a space featuring mementos and displaying the names and stories of the angels. Forty-nine rainbow-colored ceramic tail columns puncture the sanctuary and extend above a suspended canopy for passersby to see. Glass openings in the floor would provide views of the club’s dance floor below. At night, the lights dance.  heneghan peng architects, Gustafson Porter + Bowman The quiet and stately concept design from the Dublin and Berlin-based heneghan peng features an angular museum that, according to the architects, resonates with the energy of the nightclub. Along West Kaley Street, its facade curves and tilts upward, 'hugging' visitors as they walk in. The memorial also symbolizes a kind of embrace; the original nightclub building is surrounded by seven sections that come together as a shared space. The names of the 49 lost would be embedded into a series of colorful, vertical bands on one elongated wall. Though silence is a major component of this design, so is sound. Within the museum would be recording studios, conversation spaces, and community areas. Heneghan peng proposed the PULSE Music Label, which would spread music that shows the strength of the LGBTQ+ community.  Further collaborators: Wannemacher Jensen Architects, Bartenbach LichtLabor, Sven Anderson, and Pentagram MASS Design Group, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, and Sasaki MASS Design Group's monumental proposal frames the original structure of the nightclub in a sculptural embrace. With waterfalls cascading down the facade, visitors would be able to view the memorial from a contemplative seating area at the gathering space of the survivors. The memorial is accompanied by the Museum for Equality, aiming to position the tragic events at Pulse "in a global context of the fight for equality." Triangular motifs are a key feature of this museum's design, and colored glass window panels would give the building a sacred feeling, topped off with a "kaleidoscope atrium" that uses natural light to create a warm, reflective space. Further collaborators: Sanford Biggers, Richard Blanco, Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, and Porsha Olayiwola MVRDV and Grant Associates Inspired by the "midnight quality" of the nightclub's black exterior, MVRDV's monument design is a raised structure that seems to levitate over a landscape of small mounds and surrounded by 49 trees chosen by the families of the angels. The facade will remain black, with gold accents to highlight fractures along the surface. The memorial is a truly interactive site, as visitors would be able to pass under the floating structure and atmospheric lighting would allow visitors to connect with the space in deeper ways. Meanwhile, the design of the Pulse Museum is organized into four sections, which twist to form the word "love," visible from the street level because of its sloped construction. The extensive green roof of the building would be fully accessible and is intended as a communal space. Further collaborators: GSM Project, and Studio Drift Studio Libeskind with Claude Cormier + Associés Studio Libeskind has dubbed its design 'Perpetual Light' and it would feature a heart-shaped memorial surrounded by 366 colorful frames—one for each day of the year 2016. The memorial extends out and would connect to a Survivors Walk, a testament to the bravery and heroism that occurred at the site. The proposed museum is a towering structure that "connects the terrestrial to the celestial," shooting upward and ending in a display of 49 beams of rainbow light activated by human touch. An observation deck would give the opportunity for visitors to view the entire district from above and think about the legacy of Pulse in Orlando and beyond. Further collaborators: Thinc and Jenny Holzer
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Some survivors and activists oppose Orlando's Pulse memorial and museum

While efforts to build the National Pulse Memorial and Museum at the site of the deadly Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, are moving forward, certain LGBTQ activists, survivors, and loved ones of victims are voicing opposition to the plan. Last month, organizers who are against the onePULSE Foundation’s initiative to establish the museum formed the Community Coalition Against a Pulse Museum (CCAPM), which aims to develop an alternative vision for how to remember the victims of the deadliest anti-LGBTQ act of violence in U.S. history. 

As AN reported earlier this year, six major architecture firms have already been shortlisted from an initial 68 submissions for onePULSE’s international design competition. The finalists include Diller Scofidio + Renfro, MASS Design Group, MVRDV, and Studio Libeskind. While no winner has been announced yet, the process of soliciting proposals and selecting the designer has progressed steadily since the shooting in June 2016. The foundation’s plan for the site includes using the original nightclub building and constructing an additional 30,000-square-foot museum nearby. There is also an effort to integrate the memorial and museum into a broader urban design plan that would connect the former nightclub to downtown Orlando. If this is executed, visitors will be able to walk along the planned Orlando Health Survivors Walk, leading them to various sites involved in the aftermath of the shooting.

As for CCAPM, activists argue that funds used for the construction of the museum building should be directed towards victims’ families and survivors of the incident, not towards a tourist attraction. According to the organization’s website, opponents of the construction project maintain that: “All funds raised should be used to expand existing services and ensure that all survivors get the financial support, medical services, community support programs, and mental health care they need for life.”

The museum is expected to cost $45 million, including $40 million in construction costs and additional funds for staff salaries. As the Orlando Sentinel reported earlier this summer, onePULSE’s proposed budget includes a $150,000 annual salary for Barbara Poma, who established the Pulse nightclub in 2004 in memory of her brother, a victim of the AIDS epidemic. Poma is now the CEO of the onePULSE foundation. 

With an exhibition of the proposed designs set to open at the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando this October, there is no sign that onePULSE will significantly alter its plan to construct the museum. According to NBC News, the foundation responded to continuing allegations that it is profiting off of victims’ traumatic experiences by assuring that it is listening to all concerns closely: “We respect the thoughts and opinions of everyone in the community who was affected by this tragic event and are taking them all into consideration on how we move forward.”

The memorial and museum are slated to officially open in 2022.

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Six big-name teams shortlisted for National Pulse Memorial and Museum

MVRDV, Studio Libeskind, and MASS Design Group are among the six finalists shortlisted to design the future National Pulse Memorial and Museum in Orlando, Florida. The organizers behind the international design competition, the onePULSE Foundation and Dovetail Design Strategists, announced the teams yesterday after a two-month search that brought in 68 submissions from 19 different countries. The architect-led multidisciplinary groups will move onto the second and final stage of the competition later this year, where they will propose a concept design for the memorial and museum to honor the survivors, first responders, and the 49 members of Orlando’s LGBTQ+ community who lost their lives in the horrific shooting at the PULSE nightclub on June 12, 2016.   Check out the finalists below: Coldefy & 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." “Three years after the tragedy, the world continues to stand in solidarity with our community and in support of the 49, the survivors and the first responders,” said onePULSE Foundation CEO Barbara Poma in a statement. “This is reflected in the significant response to our competition announcement and the interest from architecture and designers from around the world.” Susanna Sirefman, owner of Dovetail Design Strategists, dually noted the global response. “We were thrilled with the thoughtfulness of all submissions we received,” she said. “But we felt that these six finalists best understood the urban complexity and scale of the project, and their illustrated responses best embodied the six keywords we generated from early surveys on the memorial: People want it to stand for love, hope, unity, acceptance, courage, and strength.” The onePULSE Foundation has already laid out a clear vision for the site, which will include utilizing the original nightclub in some way, as well as introducing a 30,000-square-foot museum, an elongated landscape, and an urban design strategy to connect the site to the city’s downtown. Dubbed the Orlando Health Survivors Walk, the connection will lead people north to the SoDO district to other local spots that were involved in the aftermath of the tragedy including a nearby hospital and performing arts center. Over the next few months, the design teams will meet with onePULSE leadership, a victim liaison, and a survivor to help inform their proposals. The Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando will hold a public exhibition of the designs in early October and all schemes will be available for public view and comment on the onePULSE design competition website. The winning team will be announced later that month.
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onePULSE Foundation announces competition for National Pulse Memorial & Museum in Orlando

Today, onePULSE Foundation announced it will hold an open two-stage international competition to design the new National Pulse Memorial & Museum in Orlando, Florida. Architects from around the world are encouraged to submit their qualifications by 3 p.m. EST on April 30, 2019. In collaboration with Dovetail Design Strategists, one of the country’s leading independent selection firms, the Foundation will pick six studios and their proposed teams by late May to create concept designs for the overall project, which will sit on the site of the PULSE nightclub and nearby properties. The original building, in which 49 members of Orlando’s LGBTQ community were killed in an early morning shooting on June 12, 2016, will be incorporated into the new memorial masterplan. Per the competition website, the “focus of the memorial will be the victims, survivors, and first responders, not the tragic event.” For Stage II of the competition, entrants will be challenged to reimagine the sacred site with a sprawling landscape and comprehensive urban design that honors the lives that were lost, while simultaneously bringing hope and joy to visitors and the families of the victims. The site will feature a new, 30,000-square-foot, “architecturally iconic” museum that will educate and address issues of tolerance, diversity, and inclusion. Outdoor space for community gathering and performances will also be woven into the new construction. An integral part of the site’s extension will be the pedestrian pathway known as Survivors' Walk. It will trace the three-block journey many victims and survivors took to the nearby Orlando Regional Medical Center that fateful summer night. The Walk will additionally stretch further north to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, where the first community vigil was held for the tragedy three years ago. According to the Foundation, this link will further deepen the site’s connection to downtown. The six shortlisted firms will be selected by a jury of onePULSE Foundation leadership, local Orlando stakeholders, and architects Laurind H. Spear, co-founder of Arquitectonica and principal of Arquitectonica GEO, Sarah Whiting of WW Architecture, and Yolanda Daniels of studioSUMO. This September, the top concepts will be showcased at a public exhibition at the Orange County Regional Historic Center in Orlando, Florida. After a public commentary period and presentations to the jury, the winning team will be announced in late October. Each team will receive a $50,000 honorarium for meeting the Stage II requirements of the competition once the final design is chosen. The new National Pulse Memorial & Museum is slated to cost $45 million and expected to open in 2022. The memorial site will be free and open to the public year-round, seven-days-a-week, 24-hours-a-day. For more information on submitting, visit the onePULSE competition website.
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Florida's Brightline makes private, high-speed transit a reality

The United States, let alone Florida, is not known for its widely accessible and comprehensive regional mass transit networks. Bucking this trend, on January 15, the state inaugurated Brightline, a private passenger rail between the cities of West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale that shaves 30 minutes off the time required by car. While the distance between the two cities is not great, with the train journey taking just 40 minutes, the Brightline has reintroduced private commuter rail to the United States for the first time in decades. Although Brightline currently only operates between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, it is slated to expand to Miami and Orlando by 2020, utilizing 240 miles of track carving through densely populated Southeastern Florida. While not part of the current proposal, All Aboard Florida has suggested that Tampa and Jacksonville could be linked to the Brightline network. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Zyscovich Architects are designing the stations located in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. All of the stations share a material palette and design aesthetic, while conforming to their individual environments. At the cost of $3.1 billion, Brightline promises to transform commuting between Miami and Orlando to a relatively minimal 3 hours, taking an hour off the drive time. According to Next City, the new rail service could take upwards of 3 million cars off of South Florida roads, with the potential to capture up to 20 percent of travel between the two cities, two of the most visited cities in the United States. The introductory fare between West Palm and Fort Lauderdale is $10, a bargain considering the amenities aboard the train, which include leather seats, free WiFi, power outlets and bike racks. As reported by USA Today, the Brightline will prove operationally profitable if it captures just 2 percent of the 100 million annual trips between Miami and Orlando. Fortress Investment Group, the parent company of the Brightline, is hedging that its investment in new transit hubs will increase property values surrounding stations as well as revenue generated by real estate development. Forrest Investment Group is already building more than 800 high-priced rentals at its Miami station and close to 300 in West Palm, in tandem with new skyscrapers dedicated to commercial and retail functions. While Brightline is based in Florida, its model of privately-funded and operated high-speed rail is replicable across the country. According to Modern Cities, Brightline is considering implementing its concept in similar urban corridors to those in Southeastern Florida, with the possibility of new links between Atlanta and Charlotte or Houston and Dallas. With the Trump administration’s recently leaked draft infrastructure plan emphasizing financially independent public transport systems, Brightline could prove to be a successful model for expanding rail service to millions of Americans while spurring high-density development in sprawl-ridden metropolitan areas.
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2017 Best of Design Awards for Digital Fabrication

2017 Best of Design Award for Digital Fabrication: Under Magnitude Designer: Marc Fornes / THEVERYMANY Location: Orlando, Florida Depending on the perspective of its visitors, the whimsical Under Magnitude calls upon different references from the known world; but any of its likenesses is pushed beyond its familiar scale. The two-story installation suspended in the atrium of Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center borrows and mismatches elements from biology, achieving a familiar yet mysterious quality—at once friendly and alien. The piece is in fact the sum of many constituent parts: A network of bulbous and bone-like branches comes together in a Y-shaped plan and reaches upward to form a shape reminiscent of a vault or a suction cup. The intricate, continuous surfaces of the 1-millimeter aluminum stripes are also structural. Knit into a unified system of columns and beams, a three-dimensional subspace comes together as a “shell from shells.” “The networked organic structure is fascinating in that it exemplifies the beauty and strength of non-linear design. It’s incredible that the aluminum panels interlock to become a massive suspended shell-structure. Fascinating exploration of the possibility of biophillic design.” —Emily Bauer, Landscape Architect, Bjarke Ingels Group (juror) Commissioned by: Orange County Convention Center   Honorable Mention Project: Flotsam & Jetsam Architect: SHoP Architects Location: Miami Flotsam & Jetsam, the gateway to Design Miami 2016’s fair, found a permanent, public home in Miami’s Design District. The pavilions were 3-D printed in less than eight weeks by two project partners. The first used a proprietary method called Cellular Fabrication to print large-scale panels. The second harnessed polymer and bio-derived composites to print components—breaking new manufacturing ground.   Honorable Mention  Project: As We Are Designer: Matthew Mohr Studios Location: Columbus, Ohio As We Are addresses the relationship between self and representation of self. The 14-foot human head, made from ribbons of ultra-bright LED screens, includes a photo booth capable of taking 3-D pictures. Once a visitor has his or her picture taken, that person’s head is displayed on the visage.
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Orlando approves permanent Pulse nightclub memorial

The Orlando, Florida city council has unanimously approved a permanent memorial to the victims of the June 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting. The just-approved labyrinthine memorial builds on a design in Colonialtown Square Park that was already in-progress at the time of the massacre. Forty-nine pavers, one for each of the victims, will coalesce around a shattered heart that shares a rainbow color palette with the #OrlandoUnited symbol. Plans on file with the city list local firm KZF Design (also known as KMF Architects) as the architect. Installation will be complete by next week, and the city plans to hold a dedication on December 20. In October, city officials approved benches, a fence, and new landscaping on Pulse's property, the first step towards another permanent commemoration. Pulse owner Barbara Poma's onePULSE Foundation is behind that project.
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Orlando is installing a temporary memorial at the Pulse nightclub

On June 12, 2016, 49 lives were lost on Latinx night at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida when gunman Omar Mateen targeted LGBT club-goers out for a night of dancing. Now, the city and a private foundation are making steps toward honoring them in a public memorial. This Monday, plans for an interim memorial were approved at Orlando's town hall meeting. The plans are spearheaded by the onePULSE Foundation, a nonprofit incorporated by the owners of Pulse to honor the victims of the shooting and provide support to survivors and the families of the deceased. The Foundation has created a fund to support scholarships in each of the victims' names. They are also planning a museum that will showcase the narratives of those affected as well as a permanent memorial for the site. The temporary memorial is meant to make the site more welcoming while the Foundation develops the permanent memorial. The approved measures include a rainbow-painted crosswalk, illuminated benches, a new fence painted with murals, landscaping features on the otherwise concrete curbside, and areas for reflection and walking around the site, which has been closed off to the public for over a year now. https://twitter.com/eric_adelson/status/918084055417151488 The City has already completed the crosswalk painting portion of the memorial on Esther Street leading up to the nightclub, much like the rainbow flag being permanently installed today in front of New York's Stonewall National Monument as an homage to early LGBT and HIV/AIDS activists. Both installations have been timed to coincide with National Coming Out Day, held yearly on October 11. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer praised the plan for the temporary memorial, which he said would be "much more friendly ... to the public that are coming there." Since the shooting, the site has attracted visitors from around the world who pay their respects to the souls lost that night, leaving behind flowers, balloons, photographs, advocacy posters, and other personal tributes. At the Orlando town hall meeting, a panel of experts also discussed the site's eventual fate. One panelist, the vice president of New York's National September 11th Memorial, argued that some or all of the original structure should be kept intact rather than demolished, preserving the survivors' and families' connection to the space where their loved ones experienced their last moments. At the meeting, an audience member remarked on the lack of diversity of the all-white panel, which she felt was not representative of the community most impacted by the tragic event, which was largely Latinx, Black, and queer. "There were nine black, African-American," the audience member continued. "There were single mothers, low-wage workers … you have to be inclusive.”
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Adjaye Associates to design new library in suburb of Orlando, Florida

Adjaye Associates, the London-based firm of Sir David Adjaye, will be designing a new 50,000-square-foot library in the Orlando suburb of Winter Park, Florida. The $30 million project will sit on the northwest corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Park and will also house 8,500 square feet of civic center space and a parking deck. “Winter Park’s vision for this project truly embraces the continued evolution of the library in the 21st century,” said Adjaye in a press release. “With a diverse program that recognizes it as a critical piece of cultural infrastructure, this will be a dynamic space for shared education, recreation, and interaction.” Orlando-based firm Hunton-Brady Architects will be the executive architects on the project with Adjaye Associates serving as the design architects. Adjaye Associates is likwly best known in the U.S. for being on the team that designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in September of 2016 on the National Mall. The firm is also known for having a principal who has was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and named among the 100 most influential people of 2017 by TIME Magazine. Design work for the new library is expected to begin next month.
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4,672 ultrathin aluminum strips compose THEVERYMANY's Orlando convention center installation

This article appears in The Architect’s Newspaper’s April 2017 issue, which takes a deep dive into Florida to coincide with the upcoming AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando (April 27 to 29). We’re publishing the issue online as the Conference approaches—click here to see the latest articles to be uploaded.

A 48-by-35-by-26-foot public artwork has been installed in the main concourse of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The work, titled Under Magnitude, is designed by New York architect Marc Fornes and his firm THEVERYMANY as a “curious signal and a place for visual wandering” meant to activate one of the convention center’s main social spaces.

The two-story sculpture—made up of 4,672 ultrathin aluminum strips and 103,723 rivets—is suspended above the concourse floor via steel wires and can be seen at eye level from the mezzanine. The structure follows the laws of what Fornes described as “tangential continuities,” a geometric phenomenon describing how micro-level linear components are utilized to describe macro-scaled, nonlinear geometries. The model dates back to the work of 20th century artist Frei Otto, whose Soap Bubble Model theory postulates the so-called “extensive curvatures” at the foundation of Fornes’ work. Frei was interested in the geometric and structural tension that occurs in surfaces that transfer stresses along their length. Fornes inverts that theory via his notion of “intensive curvatures,” in which digital modeling is used to “maximize double curvature across the project,” rendering dynamic and fully self-supporting forms. The result is a holistic structural system that is defined by a tightly curved and constantly changing surface that is also incredibly strong and composed of thin materials.

The project, developed using Rhino digital modeling software, opened in March 2017. In a video, Fornes said: “Some people start to project their own background onto it. If you come from the sea, some people will read coral. Some people will read flowers. It doesn’t matter [how the viewer interprets the form], but it matters that they engage and that they start to wonder about the structure.”

Under Magnitude Orange County Convention Center Orlando, Florida Tel: 407-685-9800 Architects: THEVERYMANY
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A Planet Hollywood becomes a Victorian observatory in Orlando’s Disney Springs

This article appears in The Architect’s Newspaper’s April 2017 issue, which takes a deep dive into Florida to coincide with the upcoming AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando (April 27 to 29). We’re publishing the issue online as the Conference approaches—click here to see the latest articles to be uploaded.

When it comes to theatrical architecture, Disney rarely disappoints. So when it came time to remodel the spherical Planet Hollywood in the Disney Springs Development, it turned to Boston-based Elkus Manfredi Architects to double down on the theme “Dine Amongst the Stars.”

Disney Springs is located near Disney’s collection of theme parks in Orlando, Florida. The recently expanded district is home to retail, dining, and entertainment, all modeled after a centuries-old American town that evolved along an alternate timeline to our own. The remodeled Planet Hollywood was envisioned as a stand-alone destination while still fitting into this fantastical setting.

Leveraging the existing iconic dome of the Planet Hollywood, Elkus Manfredi reimagined the building as an epic late-19th-century observatory. A new brick base, complete with arched windows and truss details, adds 5,000 square feet to the project. A tensile Teflon-coated silver fabric resurfaces the dome, referencing the metal domes of vintage observatories, and completes the thematic exterior transformation. Outdoor seating and an exterior stair, encased in a radio-tower-esque structure with another exterior bar, give guests a whole new set of dining options.

The interior of the spherical building has four levels. At the heart of the space, a mock vintage telescope rises through all three of the main dining and entertainment stories. Throughout the whole project, planetary and stellar motifs adorn everything from the custom carpet to the multimedia screens, but each floor has its own character. The main dining level is large and open, connected to the outdoor terrace overlooking Disney Springs. The second level is more intimate, with a smaller dining area and a lounge area geared toward adults. The top dining level on the fourth floor is the most intimate space in the restaurant. Guests here are closest to the dome and the projected stars on its inner surface.

While the restaurant will no longer sport the familiar 1990s Planet Hollywood branding, that does not mean that everything will be replaced. Multiple displays of Hollywood memorabilia are still part of the project’s experience.

The timing of this transformation seems only appropriate. As NASA continuously announces the finding of exoplanets in neighboring star systems, perhaps this new observatory will help Disney discover its own planet… Hollywood.