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NYC COVID-19 MEMORIAL:
A CYCLE OF HEALING FOR THE CITY
Today many boundaries exist in acquiring a happy and healthy life. These inequities that exist in our communities are represented by our individual access to financial capital, housing, education, transportation, food and healthcare, leaving large swaths of the population vulnerable to economic and health disruptions. The COVID-19 virus has rendered these sometimes unseen forces, visible for all communities to see: globally, nationally, and locally.
At a time when strong leadership was needed for New York City to protect the most vulnerable, leadership was delayed and disjointed in its response, impacting the five boroughs of New York City with variegated effect. This is evident in the number of cases and deaths seen throughout the city, re-emphasizing historically marginalized neighborhoods throughout the city. This failure to protect the systemically vulnerable is recorded in the ability of the memorial’s design to illuminate the devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus on NYC’s localities.
Five memorials, each situated in existing neighborhood parks or anomalous intersections in each borough where communities have been adversely impacted by the virus, symbolizing the varying degree of loss. Each memorial is a unit of five vertical brick patterned bands, tied together at their horizontal pivot point. This pivot point operates as the point of rotation for each vertical band within the memorial. As the individual bands rotate, they graze each other in a gesture of intimacy that has been sacrificed in an effort to suppress the transmission of the virus.
Above the point of rotation lies a perforated pattern, while below lies a solid textured pattern. The perforated section illuminates the memorial at night, while the solid textured section provides the backdrop for the waterfall. The pivot point establishes the high-water mark for the memorial waterfall. Each memorial has a unique “borough band” situated second in line, tipping at a varying degree, causing the water to gush from a unique water line, marking the lives lost relative to the other New York City boroughs.
Each memorial is situated within depressed rings building out from the center. Six foot hexagon stripe paving patterns carpet the site, providing integrated protective measures for one to move from the individual to the collective.
Each memorial is unique as it stands separately, but is united in the qualities each possesses; the movement, the tension, the reflection, and the duality within each is intended for individuals to experience the cycle of healing.
In order to take one through the cycle of healing, one must acknowledge, reflect, gather, and find joy after rebirth. The experience in each situation is unique to the individual and how that individual chooses to enter the space. It is a constant negotiation in finding the path to find joy out of suffering.
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