How can a building educate and change the world?

Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum Dallas, Texas


  • Cultural
  • Interiors
  • Office


52,300 SF
A Building with a Mission

While no building can ever represent the inhumane 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 ultimately influence impactful societal change.

Marrying Expressive Aesthetic with Functionality

The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum wanted to make sure that every guest who visits the museum is able to experience the expressive aesthetic without difficulty or delay, requiring extensive thought into visitor experience during the design process. The mission is to encourage individuals to become upstanders in support of human rights. The vision for the museum is to create a deep and authentic experiential journey that grapples with the most difficult and perplexing issues plaguing humanity.

"Embrace ideals, challenge reality, participate in repair."

Maxim of Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
  • 250 Seat Auditorium
  • 27 Unique Exhibits
  • 2 50-Seat Classrooms
  • 120 Survivor Testimonies Throughout Holocaust Exhibit
Designed for the Experience

The overall building design amplifies the museum’s narrative by leading visitors through a physically changing path with a series of highly experiential spaces that allow the visitors to fully 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 that is removed from everyday distractions.

    Education at the Core of Design

    The museum's primary purpose is teaching visitors the history of the Holocaust and advancing human rights to combat prejudice. The building has embraced these goals by providing two connectable 50-seat classrooms provide ample space for a variety of groups. The museum is also one of two museums in the world with a permanent "Dimensions in Testimony" Theater. This theatre is an interactive, holographic project developed by the USC Shoah Foundation that will allow visitors to interact with a Holocaust Survivor long after they are of blessed memory.

    Designing the Narrative

    The design of the museum is a rational organization of the program elements while reinforcing the narrative of a journey that will engage the visitor every time they visit. The exhibit space is elevated above the support spaces and clad in metal skin. The common area is centralized to connect all spaces and provide a powerful courtyard-lobby connection. The exhibits are intentional black-box spaces and contrast with the light-filled lobby creating a dichotomy of light and darkness, of hope and tragedy.

    Simple Elegance

    To further the importance of the exhibits, the design of the building is meant to express simple elegance. This ensures that every visitor is able to fully experience the purpose of the museum because the building complements the exhibits without taking away from their importance. We worked heavily with the exhibit designer, Berenbaum-Jacobs Associates, to fully understand the message behind the museum experience in order to design the perfect frame for the exhibits.

  • Why Copper?
  • Mapping the Journey
  • Building Section
  • Building Envelope
  • Spatial Diagrams
  • Floor Plans
  • Exhibit Journey
  • The Garage

See how they are educating and making an impact

Sustainable Design

The museum was designed with the goal of being a LEED Certified. This project is located in the West End Historic District, formerly an industrial site adjacent to a former rail line. The design of the building seeks to limit the amount of direct sunlight on the large expanses of glass. The wings of U-shaped parti shields the large curtain wall opening to the courtyard from the sun while the west wing overhangs the entry curtain wall limiting the effects of the western sun exposure.


  • 2020 Preservation Achievement Award
    2020 Preservation Achievement Award New Construction in a Historic Neighborhood
  • 2020 TEXO Award
    2020 TEXO Award First Place - Distinguished Building Award for Educational Facilities
  • 2020 Best Cultural/Worship Project
    2020 Best Cultural/Worship Project ENR Texas & Louisiana
  • AIA Dallas
    AIA Dallas 2015 Unbuilt Design Award
  • Copper Development Association
    Copper Development Association 2020 North American Copper in Architecture Awards
  • AIA Film Challenge
    AIA Film Challenge 2020 Grand Prize Winner
  • AIA Dallas
    AIA Dallas 2022 Built Design Honor Award
Learn More About the Museum

Moved to learn more about being an Upstander? Visit the Museum's website to learn about their mission and how they are changing the world one person at a time.

Visit the Museum Now