The New York City AIDS Memorial’s board of directors unveiled the final design for the project at an event on Wednesday evening in Manhattan.
Designed by Studio a+i, a Brooklyn-based architecture firm, the memorial will feature an 18-foot steel canopy that will serve as a gateway to the new St. Vincent’s Hospital Park at the intersection of West 12th Street and Greenwich Avenue in the West Village. It will enclose a granite fountain and benches, as well as a paved surface carved with texts chosen by a team of historians, artists, community members, and activists led by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Tony Kushner.
The idea for the AIDS memorial began in 2011 with an advocacy campaign organized by urban planners Christopher Tepper and Paul Kelterborn. Nearly 500 architects from around the world submitted designs for the project during an ideas competition, sponsored by Architectural Record and Architizer. The jury, led by Michael Arad, designer of the National September 11th Memorial, selected a proposal by Studio a+i. After negotiations with the site's developer determined the memorial's footprint, the AIDS Memorial organization worked with Studio a+i to develop and adapt the proposal as it sought approval from the local community board and city agencies, ultimately settling on the design unveiled last night. The memorial site, which is next to the former St. Vincent’s Hospital—one of the first in the nation to offer HIV treatment—had been used as a loading dock as well as for storage of liquid oxygen tanks, until the hospital closed in 2010.
The AIDS Memorial organization also kicked off its $4 million capital campaign on Wednesday. To date it has received $975,000 in private gifts, including $250,000 from the Arcus Foundation, and a $105,000 grant from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. At the event, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer pledged $1 million from his office to the capital campaign, and the memorial organization announced an additional $1.5 million in public funding committed to the project, bringing it within $600,000 of its goal.