Client: Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
Location: Dallas, TX, United States
Completion date: 2019
Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
While no building can ever represent the injustices that occurred during the Holocaust, it can certainly be a vessel for the meaningful presentation of the repercussions, human experiences and realities thereof to influence societal change. The building design amplifies the museum’s narrative by leading visitors through a physically changing path with a series of experiential spaces that allow the visitors to absorb the exhibits. The architecture is essentially reflective of this notion of a journey, expressive of movement from arrival to departure, designed to provide an intuitive path for all visitors so that the focus is on the experience.
The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is a private institution with a strong public outreach mission driven to engage with students, patrons and the world at large. Every design move made at the museum was intended to further their ultimate mission and values. The art pieces selected throughout are representative of this mission. Works of art are commissioned for key locations throughout the museum. Special art exhibitions will be displayed periodically in the Special Exhibits Gallery. A civic plaza with a large sculpture is located in the front of the museum for community gathering and special events. The museum itself is designed to engage visitors like an experiential sculpture. It compels an emotional journey that is designed to remove the visitor from everyday distractions. The architecture communicates the notion of a journey, conceived to provide an intuitive path for all visitors so that the focus is on the experience. The exhibits are black-box spaces to contrast with the light-filled lobby creating a dichotomy of light and darkness, of hope and tragedy. And with its exterior clad in copper, which will acquire a natural patina over time, the DHHRM will become an architectural legacy distinct and impactful.
The DHHRM project began its design process within a three-month design competition which included some of the most prestigious firms in the country. Designers were challenged to work with the already-retained BJA in order to garner an understanding of each firm's ability to collaborate and communicate the intent of the project visually. Mark Holsinger and team demonstrated their commitment to work collaboratively and creatively with the exhibit designer. Our philosophy is that the building must serve the story, and be shaped by the story, not the other way around. After winning this competition, our firm continued to work collaboratively with the entire team through multiple design and budget challenges. Throughout the project, we have engaged the client and all stakeholders in visioning and design charrettes to help us ensure that everyone's vision becomes a reality.
OMNIPLAN has a long-standing ability to create places that tell a story and create a strong sense of place. This dynamic building is expressive of the physical experience and will capture a new consciousness of the deliberate indifference to human suffering that we recognize today as the Holocaust. The mission of the museum is to teach and inspire new generations to advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference. It will be unique among the nation's 21 Holocaust-related museums with an expanded examination of the Holocaust along with exhibits on other genocides, human rights issues, and American ideals.