AIDS Memorial Park

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  • The scars left from the devastation of AIDSon New York City are not visible. Nobuildings were downed from the attack of AIDS. Instead there are thousands of small holes where people’s lives were cutshort. In fact there are over a hundredthousand of them throughout the city of New York. Also there are the millions of holes in thehearts and memories of those that survived them, the family members, friends,neighbors, and communities, those that nursed them, and the courageous activistswho refused to allow the suffering and loss to be swept under a rug, who demandedattention, gave support and initiated action.

    This memorialdesign works on three levels:

    A below ground flexible memorial center canwork as a gallery, a theater, an auditorium for events with appropriate supportservices and spaces. The materials wouldbe warm, simple, the spaces flexible. The walls are cement, plaster and epoxy, the floors 1” thick industrialcork planks.

    The triangle carved from Seventh Avenue,Greenwich Avenue and 12 th Street is a frenetic corner of the West Village. The intention of this street level gardenis to provide a sheltered connection to nature, set apart from the surrounding chaosof the city, to provide the public with a place for reflection, serenity,meditation, and replenishment. Arched entrancesare at each of the three corners. Continualstone seating will run along Greenwich Avenue length of the park, facing intothe green areas support contemplation and tranquility. We have in mind the very dense limestone ofPuglia, Italy, which looks and feels like petrified cream. Wide limestone slab paths run broadly to eachentrance. The third entrance at 12 thStreet and 7 th Avenue accesses to the memorial center below via aramp and bisects the gardens.

    For plantmaterial we are suggesting something subtle, natural, tranquil with textures,colors and surfaces that change seasonally and move gently in the wind. Perhaps even a field with the kind ofboulders that we see protruding up through the island of Manhattan. Stone paths that cut through the largeplanted areas welcome strolling.

    Above thegarden is the actual memorial. It is aswooping brushed stainless trellis that swells upwards to five stories at thecenter and reaches out over much of the park. During the daytime the trellis dapples the light, isolates the parkvisually from the neighboring buildings, allows the visitor introspection withits embrace. At night the park is gentlyilluminated and will offer a warm spiritual presence to the evening.

    Across the length of the vaulted main pathhang 100,000 thin bronze tubes of various lengths
    Each tube finishes in a black rubber ballthat acts as a clapper when the wind allows the tubes to sway into each,causing a range of muffled chimes and visually presenting to the visitors ofthe park what the quantity 100,000 looks like. The memorial will be a landmark in the city, a forceful image ofremembrance, celebration and reflection.
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