National AIDS Memorial Finalist Proposal

thurlowsmall, TSA, andrew thurlow

Gabion Field: 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 of a memorial landscape than monument.  It is a loose and interactive system of distributed components, an open network of landscape organized by choreographed figures; it is not a fixed, pristine, idealized object intended to charm or abstract a complex experience.

The project deploys wire-mesh-architecture in the existing landscape of the Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park.  These objects, as a landscape of spirit, elevate a series of layers of screening and overlapping to express lightweight 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.

The wire components are distributed into the surrounding forest and out into the meadow where they densify and help to form organized spaces.  The wire is deformed to create benches, walls and portals.  The wire lattice also creates an atmosphere of framework, without interfering with the lush surroundings nor treading heavily upon the ground.  The figures become more angelic, more spirits in the material world that guide the space of the memorial garden. The figures, as trunks, operate like columns of collected space, similar in scale and nature like surrounding trees.  They would be both visual clues of an (other) type of garden space and space defining objects. The wire-mesh-components shape space, they are meshes which consist of braids and linkages, a form of architectural drapery, like webs floating in the air, “strong yet delicate in appearance.”  The individual wires are joined together, creating an airy and light structure that can be extended in multiple directions.

The spatial gabions are coated with bonded rilsan, specified with either a shiny, highly reflective white nylon coating, for maximum reflection as an enhancement of the picturesque pointalism throughout the site, or with an ultra-matt grey-white nylon, to absorb more light, for greying effects to coincide with the fog and for enhanced atmospherics.