IN MEMORIAM

Commission Chooses “Infinite Forest” Design For NYC AIDS Memorial Park

The selection committee for New York City’s AIDS Memorial Park has announced the winning design for the monument.

Submitted by architecture firm a+i, the triangular design is being called an “Infinite Forest,” with three huge mirrors bounding the park’s perimeter. In its proposal, the firm explained that its concept for a monument doesn’t focus on enumerating the names of the dead or trying to symbolize their loss, but rather goes for a more expansive, abstract vision:

The act of memorializing the AIDS epidemic with a physical gesture goes beyond remembering and honoring the dead. AIDS is not a war, nor a disease conquered. There are no definite dates or victims. In our design process, we emphasize 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.

Jury Chair Michael Arad, who created the National September 11 Memorial, said this design respected the fact that the Park is right across the street from the now-shuttered St. Vincent’s Hospital, which was at the center of the epidemic’s onset.

“The winning design creates a space for reflection, awareness and recognition, while acknowledging the history of the disease,” said Arad. “The St. Vincent’s site is significant because it is intimately tied to the history of the AIDS epidemic, especially the early history of the crisis. It was important that the jury’s selection should ultimately deliver a public space that serves as both a neighborhood park and an AIDS memorial of significance.”

Journalist Regan Hofmann, a jury member, approved highly of the design.

“As a person living with HIV and editor of POZ Magazine and poz.com, I am all too aware that AIDS is far from over in America,” said Hoffman. “The winning design reflects an appropriate homage to those we’ve lost to AIDS while raising awareness that HIV/AIDS is still very much an issue today. My hope is that this memorial, by recalling what happens when we fail to address AIDS, will inspire new responses that will help bring an end to this terrible epidemic.”

Check out a high-resolution rendering of the memorial and give your opinion of it in the comments. If you’re interested in the early AIDS movement and the activists working to find ways to make the disease survivable, check out Queerty’s interview with the creator of How To Survive A Plague, a new doc on the subject.