New Design for NYC AIDS Memorial Approved: RENDERING


Manhattan's Community Board 2 approved a new design for a New York City AIDS Memorial in Greenwich Village on a 17,000 square-foot triangle-shaped plot of land bordered by Seventh Avenue, 12th Street and Greenwich Avenue, opposite the former St. Vincent's Hospital.

The park's planners tell us:

In their presentation to Community Board 2, the design team issued the following statement: “The memorial is composed of three inter-connected elements that are inspired by the shelter provided from a dense grove of trees, and the visual impact created when trees within that canopy are lost.  The elements include a planted canopy creating a sheltered area that defines the memorial space, a reflective water feature providing a focal point for meditation, and a narrative surface design of concentric rings creating an opportunity for sharing and learning.”

“This memorial design provides an amenity for the new park and the surrounding neighborhood, while also marking this uniquely important site and providing a vehicle for passing on facts and memories about the ongoing history of the AIDS crisis,” said New York City AIDS Memorial cofounders Christopher Tepper and Paul Kelterborn in a statement.

A different, competition-winning design was rejected by the park's owner in January.

"Brooklyn, NY architects Mateo Paiva and Esteban Erlich of studio a+i, whose entry was selected in an international competition earlier this year, are responsible for the new memorial design approved by Community Board 2.  The memorial design team also includes representatives from Robert Silman Associates, structural engineering; 2×4, graphic design; and Fisher Marantz Stone, architectural lighting design," according to organizers.



  1. greg says

    That is just BAD – Oh I see “triangles” for that gay thing – and how is that foliage going to thrive (or look in the winter) – Bad Design makes the baby Jesus cry…..

  2. Jay says

    NIce, but I wonder what happened to actual sculpture or a stone monument — Something to last, with good design. The problem with the 9/11 memorial is wasted space, and potential for the water to collect trash. Also, weren’t the triangles used by the Nazi’s in WWII to identify gays?

  3. SKOC211 says

    Boring and uninspired.

    Ohhhh triangles. Because, you know, gay!

    It’s a shame because the original design was stunning.

  4. Ari says

    The Infinite Forest was breathtaking and would look amazing in all seasons. This …

  5. cgerard says

    as thre only native new yorker left in my city this is ust another UGLY piece of so-called art work to be left on my streets

  6. DrMikey says

    Artist renderings always look great. Remember, they’re trying to ‘sell’ their idea. But as Sean remarked, what will it look like in the dead of winter(?)
    I still vividly recall the magic of the West Village before the plague hit, even when it was 2 degrees with wind and snow flurries. I loved walking the ‘walk of shame’ at 6am through Sheridan Square when all was quiet, and eating breakfast at the diner. Though I moved to the left coast in 1970, I visited old friends in NYC several times a year, but after ’81 it became too depressing to repeat. Would someone please tell me why the hospital where many of my friends died closed and became condos? Is it haunted? (An interesting premise for a movie, btw…

  7. Dback says

    I like this design better, too–more lush and open. (And yes, I like the triangles.) And on days when people are remembering someone who died of AIDS, they can bring flowers for them and stick them into the walls so that they bloom with the other foliage. Cool.

  8. Matt in NYC says

    DRMIKEY, The reason St. Vincent’s closed was because it went bankrupt. It was a private (catholic) hospital. Unfortunately, between high costs for everything in the city, and a relatively large number of situations where either people couldn’t pay, or the standard medicare/medicaid reimbursements weren’t suufficient to cover expenses, they were just seeing more money go out than come in for too long.

  9. Andy says

    I’m going to get myself in trouble here but it wouldn’t be the first time. I think the dedication of the memorial should be limited to those infected before it was widely known how one could become infected. For the past 20 years if you’ve become infected with this disease you only have yourself to blame. I have compassion for those infected but my compassion only goes as far as your personal responsible. Responsibility not only to yourself but to those you encounter.

  10. Tatts says


    I think there were problems with the first winning design (better on the inside than outside). But this just looks so cheap and insubstantial. If it looked less like an IKEA coffee table and more fluid and sculptural (not like the cheapest way to get a roof off the ground), it might work. The audience area at the band shell in Millenium Park in Chicago, or a Calatrava bridge would be a good starting point.

    But this? Yuck.

  11. Dedcilmany says

    The original was rejected. That is the good news. We don’t need a mirrored closet that hides from public view, I mean WTF

    The bad news is that the new design is also crap (and yes as an architect, crap would be the professional term here) 

    What about this “memorial” evokes AIDS crises? What about this memorial speaks the to gay community? (and no, the triangle shapes do not cut it).

    The architects original design web site says it best – “We hope this park will be all things to all people: the children playing in the bounds of the mirrored forest, the weary commuter seeking a respite in the midst of the city and those visitors coming in memory of their loss.”

    Why? Why is the design goal to be all things to all people? This is a AIDS memorial, who cares about children playing and weary commuters. The architect further demoralizes us by stating that there are  “no definite dates or victims” Really?  What about all the milestones on the way to a cure? What about those who willfully ignored this crises? What about those who fought to get this crises recognized? What about the lost potential of thousands of young men who died? What of their pain and suffering? What about those who still live with HIV? And those at risk? What about the people who care and cared for them? What of the research that has gone into a solution? What about those who used this crises as a club to beat gay men with? What about the denial that existed and in a different manner still exists today? 

    What exactly does this “memorial” say to any of the above?

    This crises forced the gay community to galvanize and come out in a way that had not happened prior, so why an abstract solution? Why is this not an out and proud, unambiguous statement of what this crises has been and is today? Why does the design solution deny the people and history, while yielding something ambiguous that is all things to all people. Seems to me that you could slap any name on this and call it anything you want. Seems to me that this is just a closet in another form.