School of Architecture design honors lives lost at the Pulse nightclub shooting

Team of designers wins architecture competition for their structure "Effervesce"

| May 2, 2017

McKenzie Canaday tests the bubble mechanisms on the unfinished structure before it’s shipped to Orlando for completition. Photo by Alexandria Sands.

Effervesce. It means to give off bubbles, to be vivacious, to show enthusiasm or liveliness.

These are the words that describe how a group of designers at UNC Charlotte want the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting to be remembered.

It’s also what they named their structure that stood in the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Conference of Architecture this past weekend in Orlando.

The structure was the winning design of the AIA 2017 competition, which called for teams to create a ‘sense of place’ in a 10 by 10 by 8-foot space and fit the theme of “reflection.”

When acknowledging the theme as well as the location of the event, the team began to reflect on the tragedy which transpired close to a year ago in the same city.

The Pulse Nightclub shooting was a hate crime against the LGBT community. A 29-year-old man killed 49 people and wounded 53 others at a gay nightclub on June 12, 2016.

What the team came up with was a plastic, lattice wall that would be placed in the middle of the site in which it was designed for, allowing participants to orbit the wall. The wall consists of 49 vessels, each representing a life taken at the shooting, with the name of the victim etched on them. These vessels contain bubble mechanisms that allow for those interacting with the structure to blow bubbles through the wall, therefore the name effervesce.

“The bubble is blown and released into the air leaving the person blowing the bubble to reflect upon the shooting and also connect with anyone on the other side of the wall that may be a reflection of their thoughts or emotions,” student designer Claire Shue said.

Behind the walls of Storrs, the Arts and Architecture building at UNC Charlotte, the team of architecture professors Marc Manack and Rachel Dickey, Director of Fabrication Labs Alex Cabral, Visiting Professor McKenzie Canaday and students Jon Warner and Shue have been working on the creation of a structure.

The structure began as solely a design for the competition, but after learning they had won over spring break, the team realized they had to bring their vision to life.

“We wanted the piece to be not so much an object but really an event,” said Manack. “We talked about the idea that the memorial should not only remember those we’ve lost but also celebrate joy and life and be really vivid.”

The bubble mechanisms face both directions of the wall, so those interacting can be face-to-face.

“There was a level of intimacy that we wanted to create with the project,” Cabral said.

Manack said the idea of blowing bubbles began as an “offhanded comment.”

Pieces of the structure lay out on a table in Storrs Hall. Photo by Alexandria Sands.

“As soon as they said it, I was like ‘that’s what we’re doing,’” Manack said.

By taking apart bubble gun toys and studying them, Canaday was the member of the team who was able to figure out how the bubble mechanisms would need to work in order to function properly with their design.

The two students, Shue and Warner, were chosen to be a part of the team based on their work in the studio and their involvement on campus.

Shue and Warner spent weeks creating the gradient for the design, ensuring it was perfect.

The team outsourced to Iconix Metal Works, a company in Gastonia, where they received help from Jim Warren, who they now consider a part of the team.

Currently, the structure is receiving a redesign on campus and will soon be donated to its permanent home, the LGBT community center in Orlando, one of the primary centers that is helping the victims of the shooting.

“We thought since it was designed for Orlando, it belonged in Orlando, especially because it was speaking to a specific community and a specific event,” Manack said.

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Category:Campus, News

Alexandria Sands Alexandria is the News Editor for the Niner Times. She is a junior Communications major with a double minor in Journalism and Film. Alexandria has reported and taken photographs for The State Port Pilot, The Gaston Gazette and The Shelby Star. She is a graduate of the Academy of Information Technology within Apex High School. You can reach Alexandria at news@ninertimes.com or Twitter.com/alexsands_.

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Alexandria Sands Alexandria is the News Editor for the Niner Times. She is a junior Communications major with a double minor in Journalism and Film. Alexandria has reported and taken photographs for The State Port Pilot, The Gaston Gazette and The Shelby Star. She is a graduate of the Academy of Information Technology within Apex High School. You can reach Alexandria at news@ninertimes.com or Twitter.com/alexsands_.