Request for Qualifications for Design Concept for
Tucson’s January 8th Memorial


Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

Design Concept for Tucson’s January 8th Memorial – Tucson, Arizona

  1. Create a Master Plan Concept for the future renovation of El Presidio Park (hereinafter referred to as the “Master Plan ”).
  2. Create a Schematic Design for the exterior portion of a memorial to Tucson’s January 8th shooting in 2011 (hereinafter referred to as the “Memorial design”).

On behalf of Tucson’s January 8th Memorial Foundation, the Tucson Pima Arts Council invites designers to submit their qualifications and design interests to create a Master Plan Concept for El Presidio Park and to provide a schematic design for a January 8th Memorial.

RFQ Issue Date: July 22, 2014

Submission Deadline: Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 11 p.m. MST (Arizona Time)

RFQ Scope of Work Budget: $90,000 plus $5,000 stipend for each Finalist. Finalists will be reimbursed for approved travel costs of up to $5,000.

El Presidio Park Master Plan and Memorial Budget: To be determined as part of scope of work requested in this RFQ. In order to provide initial budgetary context and guidance, the total project design and construction cost (including all documents, fees, etc. to complete the Memorial), has been preliminarily set at $1 – $2 million, with the understanding that the final number may be adjusted as warranted by the accepted final design.

It is the intention of Tucson Pima Arts Council and the Tucson’s January 8th Memorial Foundation that the awarded designer or design team be engaged in the subsequent phases of developing the exterior portion of the Memorial. Subsequent phases of development are dependent upon funding availability and successful negotiations of the required agreements between all parties. The Tucson Pima Arts Council, the Tucson’s January 8th Memorial Foundation, Pima County, and the City of Tucson are not obligated to proceed to subsequent phases of development that may be described in this RFQ.

Parties to the RFQ, agreements, approvals, and subsequent agreements:

RFQ issued and administered by:

Tucson Pima Arts Council (TPAC)
100 N. Stone, #303
Tucson, AZ 85701

Awarded designer or design team: the final selected party to develop the scope of work described in this RFQ, hereinafter referred to as the “designer.”

Contracting party: The “designer” will be under contract to the Tucson Pima Arts Council.

Client for design direction and approval:

Tucson’s January 8th Foundation (hereinafter referred to as the “Foundation”)
A 501c3 organization
P.O. Box 40355
Tucson, AZ. 85717-0355

Governing parties for ratifying final recommendations of the Foundation:
Pima County Board of Supervisors and City of Tucson Mayor & Council

Master Plan Concept: A graphic depiction of elements of the master plan concept area shown in Appendix D.

All interested design professionals including but not limited to artists, architects, and landscape architects are invited to apply individually or as teams. Emerging designers and design professionals are encouraged to apply.

In lieu of prior experience in master planning or memorial design, applicants may choose to submit a preliminary design sketch in addition to examples of prior relevant work. This submittal choice is offered with the goal of providing an opportunity for all interested applicants, including emerging designers with limited previous experience.

See OPTIONAL SUBMITTAL OPPORTUNITY in the Submission Procedure Section of this RFQ.


Background and Context:

The January 8, 2011 shooting at Congresswoman Giffords’ “Congress on your Corner” event in Tucson, Arizona resulted in devastating losses and shock to the entire Tucson community and country. From this tragedy, we are all united by the grief of the six lost lives and the wounding of Congresswoman Giffords and 12 other citizens. We are also united by a commitment to honor the original purpose of “Congress on Your Corner” that brought together a diverse group of citizens seeking to meet with their congresswoman.

Since the tragic events, Tucson assembled a memorial foundation, “Tucson’s January 8th Memorial Foundation,” which is comprised of survivors of the shooting, family members of those lost, and other community leaders. This Foundation has been working with stakeholders directly involved in the tragic events, elected officials, and community leaders to develop a permanent memorial to mark the tragedy. The Foundation has identified a memorial site, archived tribute items placed in Tucson’s spontaneous and temporary memorial sites, and will continue to serve as the “client” for the memorial design process. During the RFQ process, the Foundation will help engage the public in the selection and approval of the El Presidio Park master plan concept and the schematic design of the exterior portion of the Memorial. The Foundation will also have the responsibility to fund-raise for the eventual development of the Memorial. The implementation of the Master Plan recommendations for the renovations to El Presidio Park will be through separate and future initiatives by the City of Tucson and/or Pima County.

A primary goal established by the Foundation for this exterior permanent Memorial is to “make a place” where the events of January 8th are remembered and where citizens can freely engage in meaningful contemplation and civil dialogue. The “place” must also allow for spontaneous and planned civic interactions as part of Tucson’s governmental center and downtown’s central public plaza, El Presidio Park. The Memorial will honor those six individuals lost, those 13 wounded, and those who directly responded that tragic day. The Memorial will also celebrate our democratic process that allows citizens to participate in government at a local level and safely exercise our fundamental civic right and responsibility to engage in civil dialogues.

Additional background and contextual information for Tucson’s January 8th Memorial Foundation and memorial can be found at

Additional resources stating expectations for the Memorial are in the APPENDICES and include:

  • Tucson’s January 8th Memorial Vision Statement
  • Foundation Board Members’ individual expectations
  • Remarks made during the January 8, 2014 press conference announcing El Presidio Park as the site for the Memorial
  • Site plans for El Presidio Park and the Pima County Courthouse planning area

View January 8th Appendices .PDF


Project Scope:

The Foundation, with support of and acknowledgment by the City of Tucson and Pima County, is seeking a designer to provide a Master Plan and design a Memorial that is informed by:

  1. The civic discourse exemplified by ‘Congress on Your Corner’ events and by the tragedy that occurred in Tucson on January 8th.
  2. Remembering those who lost their lives and those who were injured, while participating in our democratic process.
  3. The Tucson community’s response to the tragedy, including the first responders.
  4. The spontaneous memorial tributes created by caring community members at University Medical Center, Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s office, and the Safeway store.
  5. The Tucson community’s ongoing commitment to the fundamental value of ‘Together We Thrive.’
  6. Awareness that the Memorial belongs to all Tucsonans as part of their shared experience.
  7. Sensitivity to the site within Tucson’s history.

This RFQ includes two distinct components:

  1. The Master Plan Concept for the future renovation of El Presidio Park. The designer is expected to first provide a Master Plan Concept for Tucson’s El Presidio Park to ensure that the exterior portion of the Memorial fits into the urban fabric of Tucson’s government center and main public plaza(see Figure 1).

figure 1 El presidio park city hall pima county
Figure 1 – El Presidio Park, City Hall, and Pima County Courthouse master planning area

The successful Master Plan Concept will provide functional public spaces, an inspirational setting, and urban connections to Tucson’s government centers, existing memorials, and downtown pedestrian paths. The Master Plan Concept must embrace the spirit of public placemaking, and how people use public spaces.

This Master Plan Concept is the initial step to provide:

  • the planning context for the Memorial,
  • a refinement of the public spaces of El Presidio Park,
  • general direction and clarity for future renovations of the Park,
  • a preliminary concept for the actual exterior portion of the Memorial, and
  • a link from the Memorial and El Presidio Park to significant downtown urban spaces, including the evolving “Stravenue” (an emerging concept that connects the significant elements of downtown Tucson with a pedestrian path – see Figure 2), Tucson’s downtown business district, Tucson’s museums, the Tucson Convention Center, and the Tucson Historic Warehouse District.

Tucson Stravenue image
Figure 2 – Tucson’s proposed Downtown “Stravenue”

  1. Tucson’s January 8th Memorial. Upon Foundation approval of the El Presidio Park Master Plan Concept, the awarded designer or design team will provide a schematic design for the exterior component of the Memorial at the west entrance to the historic Pima County Courthouse (which is also the east edge of El Presidio Park) and at the north side of the Courthouse.

The successful Memorial will be a public destination that recalls Tucson’s spirit of “Together We Thrive” and that provides an inspirational setting to remember the tragic event that shocked the Tucson community and the world.

Archive materials are available for inspiration and inclusion in the Memorial. Many of these are visible on the Foundation’s web site:

Note: It is anticipated that an interior component to Tucson’s January 8th Memorial will be developed when funding to renovate the historic Pima County Courthouse is secured in the future. The interior component is not part of this RFQ.


The Site:

The site designated for the January 8th Memorial is an L-shaped area within El Presidio Park in downtown Tucson and immediately to the west, and north, of the historic Pima County Courthouse (see Figure 1 for general reference and Appendix-D for the Master Plan area site plan).

The El Presidio Park site has many layers of history and active community use. El Presidio Park is near the now dry Santa Cruz River in the Tucson basin and in an area long occupied by indigenous peoples. The area is within Tucson’s Presidio Real de San Agustín established in 1775, which is now recalled by the nearby reconstruction of the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson located one block to the north on Church Street. The location of the western wall of the Presidio has been determined archaeologically and it is marked in the courtyard on the east side of the historic Pima County Courthouse. A fragment of the actual wall exists in an exhibit in the current office of the Pima County Assessor, on the south wing of the main level of the Courthouse.

El Presidio Park was reconstructed in 1971 with a City/County Parking Garage underground and a newly designed park on top with fountains and seating, landscaping, walkways, and sculptures designed and created by local artists.

Constructed in 1929, the Pima County Courthouse was designed by Roy Place in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. The building is individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and a detailed description of the courthouse and its history can be found at: Pima County Courthouse.pdf

PC courthouse west entrance

Figure 3 – Pima County Courthouse west entrance

Pima County owns and occupies the Courthouse building and surrounding grounds that are located within the City of Tucson jurisdiction. Consequently, both Pima County and the City of Tucson will review and approve any design plans that affect the interior and exterior of this historic building.

Because El Presidio Park is located within the Downtown/Rio Nuevo Zone, and because the Courthouse is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, it is required that any plans, alterations, or demolitions within park boundaries go through Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission design review as well as the State Historic Preservation Office. These reviews will ensure that the design of the Memorial meets national and local historic preservation guidelines by being visually compatible with the historic characteristic of the Courthouse, adjacent buildings and neighborhoods. Additionally, the park is located within a City of Tucson Archaeological Sensitivity Zone. Because the area is known to have significant archaeological remains, including a Presidio era cemetery, ground disturbance should be eliminated or minimized in the Memorial design. As Owner of the site, Pima County will determine, in consultation with the SHPO, whether an archaeological treatment plan will be required.

Pima County and the City of Tucson, as well as the Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission, will be consulted during the selection process and during the scope of work requested in this RFQ to assist in meeting the required criteria.

El Presidio Park is ringed by the historic Pima County Courthouse to the west, three Pima County Administration buildings to the south, Tucson’s City Hall to the west, and the Tucson Museum of Art and additional office buildings to the north. The park also contains many pieces of sculpture and memorials – see Figure 4. The area is surrounded by barrios and neighborhoods, many of which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

El Presidio Park is actively used for community events and festivals. The site for the Memorial must remain contiguous and open to the rest of the park.

figure 4 El Presidio park
Figure 4 – El Presidio Park artwork key plan

Budget Details:

The designer budget of $90,000 is intended to cover the entire designer costs for the scope of work described in this RFQ. This will include:

  • architectural and engineering fees for the El Presidio Master Plan concept and the schematic design for the exterior Memorial
  • renderings or models illustrating the Master Plan and Memorial schematic design
  • total project budget recommendations for the Master Plan and Memorial schematic design
  • costs such as travel, printing, meetings, and other designer administrative costs

Not included in the budget for the designer or design team costs are the following items that will be provided by others after the selection of the designer:

  • costs for acquiring and printing available building and park as-built drawings
  • site surveys and topographical documentation
  • soils tests
  • archeological studies

Selection Process:

A panel composed of Foundation Board representatives, design professionals, representatives of the Pima County and the City of Tucson, and community members will select and shortlist up to five finalists to participate in a design competition, based on qualifications as demonstrated through the materials requested to be submitted below. The shortlisted applicants will be invited to prepare a preliminary El Presidio Park Master Plan and preliminary Memorial design concepts.

Shortlisted finalists will each be paid a stipend of $5,000 to cover costs for this design competition and will be reimbursed for up to $5,000 for approved travel costs. The design competition will require no more than two site visits and up to four meetings for input and review during each site visit (the Selection Panel, community stakeholders including the Tucson Pima Historic Commission, County and City staff, and the Foundation).

Shortlisted finalists will present their preliminary El Presidio Park Master Plans and preliminary Memorial design concepts on the second site visit. Following the presentations and review of the submitted recommendations from each review group, the Selection Panel will select a designer to be awarded the commission. The Selection Panel will forward their recommendation to the Foundation for their approval. The Foundation’s recommendation will be forwarded to the Pima County Supervisors and City of Tucson Mayor & Council for their concurrence.

Finalists will be selected using the following considerations, in accordance with Selection Panelists’ perceptions of the submittal materials requested in the Application Procedure Section.

  • Capability of achieving aesthetic excellence
  • Inventiveness and creativity
  • Ability to address the opportunities and limitations for the El Presidio Master Plan
  • Capability of designing an original and unique Memorial
  • Responsiveness to the Foundation Mission
  • Responsiveness to the goals of honoring the individuals involved and of designing a space for contemplation and conversation, and for use of festivals
  • Capability of designing a Memorial space that is distinct but still part of El Presidio Park
  • Sensitivity to the unique historic considerations of the overall site

This set of criteria with additions identified during the selection process will be used to select the designer to be awarded the commission.

Timeline (tentative)

The project schedule goals are to have the presentations by shortlisted finalists available for public review by the fourth anniversary of the shooting (January 8, 2015) and an approved Master Plan concept for El Presidio Park and a Memorial schematic design no later than the fifth anniversary (January 8, 2016.)

The grand opening of the Memorial (pending successful fund-raising from private and public sources) is anticipated for the sixth anniversary (January 8, 2017.)

The following schedule outlines the design milestones for this RFQ process:

  • July 22, 2014 – issue RFQ
  • September 30, 2014 – Submittal deadline (11 pm Arizona time)
  • Shortlisted finalists selected – October 2014
  • Shortlisted designer or design team competition – November – December 2014
  • Final designer or design team selected – January 2015
  • Public announcement of the recommended finalist (pending final agreements) and release of preliminary concepts from the competition – Spring 2015

Requests for Qualifications issued by the Tucson Pima Arts Council are available on our website at Interested applicants may sign up to receive email updates and notification of opportunities offered through the Tucson Pima Arts Council at Email Signup 

Printed copies of this Request for Qualifications are also available by calling (520) 624-0595, ext. 10, or a copy may be picked up during regular business hours at the Tucson Pima Arts Council, 100 N. Stone, #303, Tucson, AZ.

Questions and Contact:

RFQ email address: Answers to questions will be posted on the Tucson Pima Arts Council’s website. No questions will be accepted and/or answered after August 29, 2014.

Contact with the Foundation, Pima County, the City of Tucson, TPAC or any other party associated with this RFQ is by the email and web site only. Attempts to contact other parties directly may be considered grounds for rejection of the submission.

To view the questions and answers click on link below:


Please see below the 21 site photos of El Presidio Park:

1. El Presidio Park and Courthouse from City Hall


2. Sunset Park north of City Hall West of El Presidio Park


3. El Presidio Park Mormon Battalion Sculpture


4. El Presidio Pak Berm north side over entrance to underground parking


5. Pima County Courthhouse west facade north of center


6. Pima County Courthouse northwest corner


7. Pima County Courthouse north side


8. Pima County Courthouse west entrance from berm


9 Courthouse west facade south end


10. El Presidio Park Clement Fountain


11. Courthouse West Facade looking south of center


12. Pima County Courthouse and sculpture from southeast corner


13. Pima County Courthouse west side north of center


14. El Presidio Park from southeast with garage elevator structure


15. El Presidio Park Clements Fountain


16 El Presidio Park from north with Pima County Buildings


17. Courthouse from south


18 El Presidio Park Battle of Bulge and War Memorial Plaques


19. El Presidio Park from southwest corner


20. Pima County Courthouse East entrance at Church St


21. Pima County Courthouse east courtyard Presidio Wall mark

Download the January 8th Memorial Request for Qualifications: