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“Sonder- the realization that each person is living a life as vivid and complex as your own with their own ambitions, friends, routines and worries.”
The Bronx is known as one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the USA but it is also highly discriminated against. Many families have lost their loved ones without saying goodbye or couldn’t afford a funeral due to unemployment. Here at Soundview Park Memorial, there is an opportunity to honor loved ones lost through shared memories and promote unity within the community. Soundview Park is located in the South Bronx near the Bronx River. Quietness and respect is given to the space around the memorial and visitors are able to reflect on what life has become and the loved ones missed. Warmth is felt as the sun reflects off of the copper structure that hugs the walls of the memorial.
Headlines and statistics of the pandemic are displayed on the digital projections as visitors go through the main doors. Unity is promoted as visitors send special photos of loved ones to be projected to the community. Visitors who don’t know the families on the wall are still able to resonate through familiar memories. This could be from a loved one showing them how to ride a bike, family celebrations, or holiday dinners. A realization is made that the names engraved in the second room hold strong meanings just as these photos. Similarities of lives are found through shared stories of families.
As they proceed to the second room, warmth is repeated as natural light reflects through the spaces of the copper structure onto the engraved names and visitors. The names on the walls are of those who passed away in the community, including the names of essential workers who risked their lives even when the pandemic was at its peak. The lighting fixtures above the water in the center of the room creates the appearance of candles floating in the water
below. A way to symbolize that as long as the candles are always lit, the people we have lost will remain with us.
There are names engraved in the lightest room as a subtle reminder to visitors that loved ones gone are still with them at their brightest points. Before visitors leave they will go home with a quote in mind, “The light remains. There are some who bring a light so great to the world that even after they have gone the light remains.” So through the three rooms of the Soundview Park Memorial, the progression from dark to light symbolizes the grieving we feel before we reach acceptance and hope for the future. People are able to feel closer with their community even during the toughest times.
Hopefully, the realization of being able to relate to those who passed away will carry on to realizing that each person is living a life as vivid and complex as their own with their own ambitions, friends, routines and worries.
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