AIDS Memorial

San Francisco, CA

“. . .It sometimes seems to me that a pestilence has struck the human race in its most distinctive faculty. . .that is, the use of words. It is a plague afflicting language, revealing itself as a loss of cognition and immediacy, an automatism that tends to level out all expression into the most generic, anonymous, and abstract formulas, to dilute meanings, to blunt the edge of expressiveness, extinguishing the spark that shoots out from the collision of words and new circumstances. . . .” Italo Calvino, “Exactitude” Six Memos for the Next Millennium, 1985

Since 1981, when AIDS was discovered and has become part of our awareness, we have responded with fear and awe at the horror of the epidemic. Now, AIDS and HIV appear in our consciousness with an illusion of familiarity. We have become numb to the knowledge and unable to comprehend the massive impact of this epidemic on the human race. The imperceivable numbers of dead and infected, lest they become mere statistics, must be part of our collective consciousness and conscience. This design proposes the system of index to experientially jolt and reveal the impact of these massively incomprehensible quantities. These systems of index deal with human sensorial perception both visual, auditory, as well as the sense of equilibrium.

Design Team:
Raveevarn Choksombatchai in collaboration with Jacob Atherton, Michael Eggers, and an architecture historian, Andrew Shanken

Honors and Exhibitions:
Finalist, AIDS Memorial International Competition—2005

Design Citation Award in Unbuilt Architecture Category for Beyond Quantities: National AIDS Memorial, AIA San Francisco Chapter—2007

Press:
Portfolio: Three Memorials, Frameworks, UC Berkeley Environmental Design 08 Publication, AIDS Memorial Finalists, San Francisco Chronicle—19/01/2005
Beyond Quantities, Emergent Memory, National Aids Memorial Competition catalog—01/06/2005
AIDS Memorial / VeeV Design—22/07/2010