National AIDS Memorial Finalist Proposal 2




Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future.   Susan Sontag

The past itself, as historical change continues to accelerate, has become the most surreal of subjects – making it possible… to see a new beauty in what is vanishing.  Susan Sontag

space goes through them…looking at them we can notice that they are made by air, like a sculpture.  Harry Bertoia


Unlike the instantaneous and overwhelming disasters that the world has seen recently through political and natural destruction, the pandemic of AIDS has crept and spread towards societal erosion over decades.  But while the destruction is vast, there is no singular marker in time of remembrance, anniversary of an event that becomes a collective acknowledgement.  Instead, linkages of individual stories have become a global network; sadness and loss has become not only a personal and local process, but a global emotional experience.  We experience grief through a new sense of scale.

In an environment of a disease that captures and changes lives throughout the world, over time, incrementally, in hidden and overt ways, in all economic and social environments, through political passages: Our design proposal is more a memorial landscape than monument.

It is an interactive system of distributed components, a network of green spaces organized by choreographed figures; it is not a fixed, pristine, idealized object intend to charm or abstract a complex experience.   The project deploys a series of overlapping layers of white, wire-mesh-architecture as a landscape of spirit, intentionally expressing light weight organizations of air and space, containers of program, eddies and swirls of density.

They also house remembrance by becoming a framework for memento, such as for red ribbons– or the impromptu self-organized memorials, such as in New York City after 9/11.  (Imagine the impossibility of a red ribbon appended on a wire for every person who contracted HIV…) The wire frameworks offer a structure for layers of memory so that remembrance is not abstract, but instead has texture, individuality– so that it remains conscious and alive.

Material / System

Each delicate mesh is locally modulated as an ethereal structure in the material world, ensconcing discreet garden spaces throughout the memorial park. Figural walls of gauze weave spatial surrounds for tranquil garden parterres, establishing a labyrinthian circulation with hierarchically ordered areas of intimacy. These niches, pockets, follies, occuli, benches, ledges and overhangs facilitate moments of reprieve and chance encounters throughout the circuitous paths – subtle reminders to slow down and rediscover the present; a time to remember, to savor nostalgia and nurture the promise of hope. The experience of ephemerality and evanescence is affably afforded.

The wire-mesh-components consist of braids and linkages, a form of architectural drapery, like webs floating in the air, “strong yet delicate in appearance.” This lattice network is variably structured and patterned with subdivision(ing) methods as an optimization of  material and form.

Welded steel with rods in bonded rilsan, a durable adhesive fused nylon dipped finish, join together at certain intervals to form ogival geometric patterning, creating an diaphanous, gauzy membrane with a shiny, highly reflective finish as an enhancement of the picturesque pointalism throughout