AIDS is characterized by the unnerving ability to affect unsuspecting people across all spectrums of age, education, and social class, connecting a group of seemingly unrelated individuals in a struggle against both the human body and the progression of time. Despite the wide range of personalities affected by the disease, victims, supporters, and activists have come together to form a support network - a patchwork* of individuals unified in a fight against the epidemic. For New York City, St. Vincent’s formed the fabric of this community. While the hospital has since closed, the quilt** of individuals that came together cannot be forgotten.
Building on the patchwork of the St. Vincent’s community, the memorial takes form as a gridded field of funnels that direct light into a below grade space. Above ground, the field becomes a commemorative area intended to both celebrate the lives of those lost and provide a space where the local community can come together. The framework distorts as the park fabric gently lifts up over the entrance at the corner of W. 12th Street and 7th Avenue, creating an irregular, occupiable grid of apertures that illuminate the basement below.
Distorted in density, size, and position, the light wells define spaces for exhibition, education, and contemplation. The central space is populated by interactive digital display tables and framed with projection surfaces, with seating cubes on either side creating viewing areas for video art and installations. Flanking this primary exhibition space, the light funnels draw the visitor toward two quieter meditative spaces located at either corner of the triangle. Each of these areas is centered around a defining element, a tree on one side and a waterfall on the other. Both the tree and the water penetrate the funnelscape, connecting the above grade and subterranean spaces.
The fabric of St. Vincents, re-stitched.
New York City AIDS Memorial Park Design Competition
New York City AIDS Memorial, Architizer, and Architectural Record