Thirty years after the onset of AIDS, there is no significant New York City AIDS Memorial. Inspired by two young men who had never known a world without AIDS, a coalition of artists, health care providers, historians, family, friends and neighbors have come together to create a permanent memorial to remember the history of the crisis. The new memorial will honor the more than 100,000 New York City men, women and children who have died from AIDS, and commemorate and celebrate the efforts of the caregivers and activists who responded heroically to the crisis. In addition to serving as a place to remember and reflect, the memorial will also renew awareness and inspire action by current and future generations through educational programming.
The park will feature an 18-foot-high canopy structure comprised of three intricate triangles that create a strong gateway to the park and a sheltered venue for people to gather. The Memorial’s surface design incorporates an inspiring narrative element, represented in a granite paving pattern of concentric rings, inscribed with a patchwork of facts, quotations and poetry reflective of the community’s response to the AIDS epidemic. A beautiful granite water feature, glazed with a thin surface of running water, will serve as a focal point for reflection and meditation. The AIDS Memorial design has garnered feature articles in Architectural Record, New York Magazine and The New York Times, which tout the simplicity and elegance of the design and the significance of the Memorial.
After successful community advocacy, in March 2012, the NYC Council designated the entrance of the new public park to house the NYC AIDS Memorial. The park is planned as part of the redevelopment of the former St. Vincent’s Hospital campus, which housed the City’s first and largest AIDS ward. The memorial will be located at the intersection of West 12th Street and Greenwich Avenue, a block from the LGBT Community Center. The park and Memorial will create a new, significant green space and amenity in the historic West Village.
Christopher Tepper and Paul Kelterborn, two young urban planners, joined forces to create the AIDS memorial during the public design process for the new park at St. Vincent’s. In conjunction with Architectural Record and Architizer, the AIDS Memorial launched an international design competition in November 2011, chaired by Michael Arad, the designer of the National September 11 Memorial, to generate ideas for the memorial park design. Nearly 500 architects from around the world submitted designs. Studio a+i, based in Brooklyn, won the competition to become the park’s architect. Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning playwright Tony Kushner (“Angels in America”) will lead a committee of historians, artists, community members and activists to curate the Memorial’s narrative surface.
With a tight timeline, construction of the AIDS Memorial is slated to begin in Summer 2013 with an anticipated opening in late 2014.
The estimated cost of the NYC AIDS Memorial is approximately $3.5M – including project design and construction, an operating reserve for maintenance, and funds for initial educational programming so that the memorial serves both as a physical tribute and a gateway for learning about the epidemic. We are reaching out to both New York City and State elected officials along with foundations, corporations and individuals to fund this long overdue project.