Park of awareness @ Saint Vincent, NYC
how to turn the red "ribbon" into a urban landscape
The PARK OF AWARENESS is a “device” that inspires and directs the behavior and actions of the visitor. The landscape layers together the built environment, nature, cultural and historic experience.
The Red Ribbon symbol was chosen because of its strong commemorative narrative and its positive consciousness raising meaning. The image of the crossing arms stands in the West Village where the AIDS crisis found its epicenter.
The tridimensional and geometrical shape of the awareness ribbon not only effortlessly fits the site, but also the program, since it defines circulation, creates an “active” but accessible landscape, increases the site visibility, marks the area as the hub of the surrounding circulation, stands at the epicenter of the crisis, provides for additional height and light to the lower level.
Evoking the fluid form of the awareness ribbon, the integrated three dimensional system of rolling pathways extends into the surrounding urban context and relevant site lines, while repairing and building urban connections, merging the diversified layers of the city. The proposed complex merges the PARK OF AWARENESS with the existing historic West Village, 1970’s buildings of controversial significance to create the new contemporary city-scape.
The gentle arching of the ribbon augments the existing lower level, supporting park and cultural activities and creating a hub below for exhibition, research, quite contemplation and technical support spaces.
This augmented topography is a new kind of public space, it combines functional circulation with gardens, provides light and views down into the lower level and sculpt previously unseen views far into the city.
The reused existing lower level is augmented by the additional square footage at street level, where the entrance and concession kiosk find space.
The glass volumes housing the elevator and stair connect to the below ground level where the double height exhibition and performance spaces are located, as well the interactive learning center, support spaces for year-round use, mechanical and egress.
Slivers of glass and scattered skylights animate the space. The quite meditation and memorial chamber is located at the cusp of the triangle, under the circular loop, which symbolically stands at the center of the area where the crisis developed.