Florida Construction News staff writer
A contractor is expected to be chosen in the next few weeks to build the Holocaust memorial planned for downtown Orlando and construction will begin by March 2023 on the site of the former Orlando Chamber of Commerce at 75 S. Ivanhoe Blvd.
Designed by Beyer Blinder Belle (BBB), the site will include exhibition space spread across two levels with the largest spanning over 12,000 sq. ft.
“This museum will serve as a literal beacon of light for all who visit—shining a spotlight on issues that can divide us so we can seek ways to create a world free of all forms of hatred, bigotry, and prejudice,” said Monte Starr, president of the HMREC Board of Directors.
The Holocaust Museum for Hope & Humanity represents a complete re-imagining of its site from the ground up. Images of the new museum are available at www.holocaustedu.org/new-museum/
“The architecture of the new museum embodies the imperative of survivors, including my mother, Tess Wise, founder of the Holocaust Center, to learn from the Holocaust in order to prevent such an event from ever happening to anyone again. It’s a memorial to those who perished in the form of the beacon to the world that can create hope for a better future… Preserving the past to protect the future.” said Ellen Wise Lang, past president of the HMREC Board of Directors.
The City of Orlando has agreed to lease the land on which the Holocaust Museum for Hope & Humanity is located for $1 per year for 99 years.
“This new space will be more than just a destination; it will be a perfect fit for our community as Orlando continues to send a powerful message to the world that we will always honor history and ignite hope,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
In addition, Orange County has pledged $10 million in tourist development tax grants toward the construction of the Holocaust Museum for Hope & Humanity.
“We are proud that our ten-million-dollar commitment will help ensure the Holocaust Museum for Hope & Humanity’s bright future and its global impact,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings.
The new museum will include innovative exhibits such as Dimensions in Testimony, pioneered by USC Shoah Foundation, which enables visitors to ask questions to specially-recorded interactive testimonies of Holocaust survivors and hear real-time responses in lifelike conversation.
“Storytelling is one of the oldest educational tools; it is a universal language. Building a museum with testimony integrated into the fiber of its being, with connection and interactivity woven in, will revolutionize museum experience and ensure lasting relevance of the stories of the Holocaust for generations of visitors,” said Kori Street, Finci-Viterbi Interim Executive Director of USC Shoah Foundation.
BBB is the design architect for the new museum, building on its portfolio of culturally significant work around the world.
“The window of hope is oriented eastward and opens to the remembrance fountain, a contemplative water feature reflecting on six million lives,” said Hany Hassan, partner at BBB. “The building design reflects the museum’s solemn responsibility to share and preserve the stories of the survivors and uses architectural form, space, and volume in concert with the collection to educate, engender empathy, and inspire.
“The museum will be a transformative experience for visitors of all ages and a welcoming beacon of hope and humanity.”
RAA, a firm that has been commissioned for more than 700 design projects in more than 40 countries, is leading the exhibit design.