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AIDS Memorial Park Designs for St. Vincent's Triangle Go On Display

By Andrea Swalec | March 27, 2012 7:33am

GREENWICH VILLAGE — From a forest of birch trees to a floating turquoise shelter, some of the top designs for an AIDS memorial at the site of the former St. Vincent's Hospital are set to go on display at a public exhibit.

There were close to 500 design submissions for the memorial at St. Vincent's Triangle, located at Seventh and Greenwich avenues, but only one was chosen — the "Infinite Forest" design by Brooklyn firm Studio a+1, which envisioned the memorial filled with white birch trees and surrounded by three tall, mirrored walls.

That design, along with the 27 runners-up, will go on display at The Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia Place as part of the exhibit, "A Plague Remembered: Memorial Park Design Competition."

The "Memorial Grove" design by nt21: Andrew Ruff and Caitlin Turski has flowering trees.
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Rudin Management, the developer of the former St. Vincent's site in Greenwich Village, agreed on March 14 to the creation of an AIDS memorial, under pressure from the City Council, neighbors and advocates from the AIDS Memorial Park Coalition.

AIDS Memorial Park Coalition co-founder Christopher Tepper said the group wanted to honor all the work that went into fighting for and picking a winning memorial design.

"The exhibition gave us a chance to showcase all the thought that went into all of the incredible designs," Tepper said. "It's part of our overall mission to spur discussion of the AIDS crisis in the Village."

The city and Community Board 2 signed off in support of the creation of an AIDS memorial, and Rudin said throughout the public review of its rezoning application that the park would contain "commemorative elements" to the AIDS epidemic, St. Vincent's history or the sinking of the Titanic. 

Rudin agreed March 14 to set aside a 1,600-square-foot space on the west end of the 18,100-square-foot park for an AIDS memorial, forcing the memorial design — which had assumed the availability of the entire triangle — back to the drawing board.

Though "Infinite Forest" was selected as the winning design, the AIDS Memorial Park Coalition, CB2 and Rudin will look at multiple designs in envisioning the park, Tepper said.

"We'll take some of the best ideas from across concepts," he noted.

The park will ultimately be built according to Rudin's design by landscape architect Rick Parisi, a spokesman for the company said.

The exhibition, which will open with a reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, will include a physical model of "Infinite Forest," plus two-dimensional images of all of the runners-up, Tepper said.

"Not Yet Open, Not Yet Closed," by Rodrigo Zamora and Mike Robitz, imagines the space first as "an amphitheater to rally public health policy makers" and hold activist events until HIV/AIDS is eradicated.  

The design "Forest of Memories," by Yin Mau Ooi, envisions the triangle filled with trees, turning it into an island that "drift[s] apart" from its surroundings. 

Museum visitors will be able to use a computer terminal to browse through all 475 designs submitted from 26 U.S. states and 32 countries, Tepper said.

The next step in the process of creating the park is a series of meetings with residents that are being planned with CB2 to begin in late April, he said. 

The exhibition, which is co-sponsored by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, will be on view through Weds., April 11.