The indiscriminate spread of HIV and AIDS in the early 1980s devastated this thriving urban community. Significant communication barriers caused by stigma and the unknown exacerbated the problem. Our NYC Remembrance Memorial symbolizes the eradication of these barriers while paying homage to past and present victims of this disease, their friends and their families, and all of those who stood up for the long fight.
This small, triangular site has been overlooked and under-used. Located in Greenwich Village’s Historic District, it is at a major crossroads where cars, bicyclists and pedestrians constantly move around its closed-off perimeter. At one time a vibrant movie theater, the current facility is a physical and visual barrier which isolates the interaction between the three streets and the public realm. This new public space sets the stage for future collaboration and use by local NYC artists and educators, becoming a crucial connecting point for this healing process. By transforming into a community inspired park and memorial, the site is re-invented as a beacon of hope and light.
The solution consists of three elements: the Green Plaza at street level, the Living Wall Corridor and the Remembrance Memorial. The Green Plaza is a civic space that creates a healthier neighborhood by providing a beautiful place to gather and share. It will host events which encourage community participation, such as music festivals, movie screenings, farmers markets, and playful water features for children. Both ends of the plaza gracefully slope upwards to the sky, providing amphitheatre seating, while shielding this oasis from the chaotic surrounding traffic. This street level plaza offers transparency and open dialogue between a collaboration of people, reflecting the fluid participation and interaction that this project will bring to this neighborhood.
The Living Wall Corridor funnels curious individuals down a long ramp to the site of the Remembrance Memorial. The lush flora of different colors and textures along this wall brings to mind renewed life, love and spirit. The journey through this corridor is a transformative passage from the hustle and bustle of everyday life into the presence of thought.
Both sides of the Public Plaza gracefully glide upward, allowing natural daylight and fresh air to filter through the below-grade Remembrance Memorial. The visitor meanders through a maze of water walls, along a floating walkway. Over 100,000 vertical streams of water reflect the continued spirit of so many lives lost to this disease. At the end of this water walkway sits a triangular, meditative space. It is a serene and tranquil environment for thought and contemplation while providing visual connection to the outside world. A forest of columns grows through the floating floor, representing strong community roots. The sound of water drowns out city noise, bringing attention to the moment in time.
Our project embraces this neighborhood for what it has experienced, eliminating a barrier to progress and hope. This open space offers the generosity of spirit for individuals and the community for which it supports.