The AIDS Memorial organisation recently announced that Community Board 2 has voted in favour of their new design for a memorial. The structure will honour the 100,000+ New York City residents lost to AIDS and recognise the ongoing epidemic.
The design for the proposed memorial encompasses the western point of the approximately 17,000 sq ft triangle-shaped plot of land bordered by Seventh Avenue, 12th Street and Greenwich Avenue in New York City. The site, located across the street from the former St. Vincent’s Hospital, is known as the epicenter of New York City’s AIDS epidemic. The proposed memorial will provide a place for meditation and learning alongside the larger park, designed by Rick Parisi of M. Paul Friedberg and Partners, and constructed by Rudin Management Company as part of their redevelopment of the former hospital campus.
Brooklyn, NY architects Mateo Paiva and Esteban Erlich of studio a+i, whose entry was selected in an international competition earlier this year, are responsible for the new memorial design approved by the Board. The memorial design team also includes representatives from Robert Silman Associates, structural engineering; 2x4, graphic design; and Fisher Marantz Stone, architectural lighting design.
In their presentation to Community Board 2, the design team issued the following statement: “The memorial is composed of three inter-connected elements that are inspired by the shelter provided from a dense grove of trees, and the visual impact created when trees within that canopy are lost. The elements include a planted canopy creating a sheltered area that defines the memorial space, a reflective water feature providing a focal point for meditation, and a narrative surface design of concentric rings creating an opportunity for sharing and learning.”
”AIDS is not a war, nor a disease conquered. In our design process, we emphasise the changing and varied ways through which AIDS affects us personally and as a society. It is important to create a space that conveys our sense of solemn respect, remembrance and loss, without resorting to symbolism around a date, image, or names,” explained Mateo Paiva and Esteban Erlich of studio a+i. Plans for the New York City AIDS Memorial proceed next to the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the City Planning Commission. Pending approval by both bodies, the Coalition will prepare construction documents for the memorial and raise funds for its construction and maintenance.
The AIDS Memorial Park Coalition was founded in 2011 by urban planners Christopher Tepper and Paul Kelterborn with aims to recognise and preserve the ongoing history of the AIDS crisis through the creation of a memorial to honour New York City’s 100,000+ men, women and children who have died from AIDS, and to commemorate and celebrate the efforts of the caregivers and activists who responded heroically to the crisis.