The winning design has just been announced for the New York City AIDS Memorial Park across from St. Vincent’s Hospital. An international team of architects including Brooklyn based studio a+i have created an interactive site entitled “Infinite Forest.” The memorial park will not only honor the over 100,000 New York City residents who died of AIDS, but will also recognize the continual effort and support against the pandemic. The jury announced last week that architects John Thurtle, Insook Kim, and Esteban Erlich have joined a+i’s Mateao Paiva and Lily Lim in creating the winning memorial design, with renderings by Guillaume Paturel. The team beat out 475 entires from 26 states and 32 countries for honorable first place.
There is no definitive or significant memorial for AIDS victims in the city, despite the fact that more people died of AIDS in New York from 1981 to 1995 than total U.S. deaths in the Vietnam War. St. Vincent’s Hospital, now bankrupt and closed, was one of the first and most important locations treating AIDS victims throughout the height of the epidemic.
“Infinite Forest” will be situated in a 17,000 square foot public plot across from the old St. Vincent’s Hospital. Three mirrored walls will line the park, offering infinite reflections of the white birch trees and visitors inside. The site is not only pensive and meditative, but also a place for New Yorkers to take a moment to enjoy their surroundings. Plans for a learning center below ground in the 10,000 square feet of unused basement space will also benefit from the light caught and reflected from the mirrors. A bookstore and cafe are also in the works, bringing awareness and interest to one of the most important sites in New York City’s history of AIDS.