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The Covid-19 pandemic continues with no end in sight but leaves behind a trail of fear and loss. Communities everywhere are not alone and therefore should share a place to mourn their loved ones. This idea of a shared community memorial became the catalysis for the exploration of an ideal site to serve as an intersection for these communities to conjugate. The site chosen was a section of the Bay Ridge LIRR Branch, between Fort Hamilton pkwy and 11th avenue. Accessible by its residents and by commuters from other boroughs, the train route passes four neighborhoods Sunset Park, Borough Park, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst. The deceased residents of these neighborhoods, due to Covid-19, will be honored on the hillside of the train route.
Inspired from the idea of social distancing circles, I decided to extrude the six-foot diameter, and have it act as both a tombstone and reserved space forever occupied by the deceased person. In doing so a visual connection is made to the scale of the individual’s presence on this earth especially when grouped together. The memorial utilizes the existing topography with a series of colored circular pads made up of recycled rubber, organized and buried halfway into the landscape. The circular pads are organized in a way as if to seem to flow along the topography depending on where you are standing. Six colors were chosen and laid out in order from darkest to lightest, purple, red, pink, yellow, blue, and green. The decision to use color was intentional to create harmony within the landscape and project a sense of peace to the families of the deceased visiting the site.
The existing train platform walls are replaced with glass panels allowing for a continuous view into the memorial. Commuters unaware of the memorial will greeted with a splendid view upon arrival onto the station. Intrigued for what they see, they will exit the station and walk the entirety of the street level perimeter. At night, the subway platform fixtures create a steady light source projecting onto the circular pads. The retroreflective coating makes the pads shine throughout the night revealing the names of the individuals. The arrival of the train will further the effect boosting the light source and repeat throughout the night.
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