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Small But Important Changes from the AIDS Memorial Team

Last week the design team behind the AIDS Memorial in St. Vincent’s Park presented some design changes at a public meeting held at the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). Off the Grid has been covering this story as it’s gone through the public review process.

We thought we would update you on this memorial designed to remember countless loved ones who have lost their lives to AIDS. More than 100,000 New Yorkers alone have died from this disease, and the siting of the memorial is well placed given its proximity to the former St. Vincent’s Hospital (the heart of the epidemic). The memorial also pays tribute to caregivers of the victims as well as AIDS activists.


The previous design, which you can see at the top of each “before and after” image in this post, was approved by the LPC at its November 27, 2012 public hearing. This application can be found on our Landmarks Applications Webpage. After receiving this approval, the team presented the design to – and received additional feedback from – the Public Design Commission (PDC). Their recommendation was to simplify the design further.

The memorial lies at the western corner of a proposed park bounded by Greenwich Avenue, Seventh Avenue South, and West 12th Street. Because of its location in the Greenwich Village Historic District, the requested changes from the PDC had to be reviewed at the LPC.

The most noticeable change to those familiar with the previous iteration is the removal of the plantings from the metal structure (seen above). This was done in order to bring more light to the memorial space below.

Before & After: Structure Elevation.

Another element that was revised was the width of the slats on the structure itself, which are now thinner (see above). This will also allow for more light and, as you can see below, makes the triangular “legs” of the structure a bit more transparent.

Before & After: Corner View.

The rendering above also shows that the backs of the benches at the edges of the memorial have been shortened to 6″ high. The name of the memorial, located on the rear of the benches, is now larger. Disabled accessible seating will be provided at the eastern end of the memorial.

Before & After: The oculus was removed from the design.

You might have noticed from the previous images that the oculus has been removed from the design. It appears this was done in an attempt to simplify the design. The oculus and the wider slats created many different shadows whereas the new proposal puts more focus on the concentric circles that will be part of the ground’s design. The water feature has been retained.

These changes were approved at last week’s LPC public meeting, though some commissioners were disappointed that the oculus was removed.

What do you think of the changes made to the memorial?

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