Porphyry pavers have been part of extraordinary public spaces for centuries. A new design by winning studio a+I has stone pavers in the New York City Aids Memorial.  Stone’s quality of durability and suitability for engraving along with the significant aesthetic for a memorial is unparalleled.

The design for the proposed memorial encompasses the western point of the approximately 17,000 square-foot triangle-shaped plot of land bordered by Seventh Avenue,12th Street and Greenwich Avenue in New York City. The site, located across the street from the former St. Vincent’s Hospital, is known as the epicenter of New York City’s AIDS epidemic. Brooklyn, NY architects Mateo Paiva and Esteban Erlich of studio a+i, whose entry was selected in an international competition earlier this year, are responsible for the new memorial design approved by New York City’s Community Board 2.

NYC Aids Memorial

In their presentation to Community Board 2, the design team issued the following statement: “The memorial is composed of three inter-connected elements that are inspired by the shelter provided from a dense grove of trees, and the visual impact created when trees within that canopy are lost. The elements include a planted canopy creating a sheltered area that defines the memorial space, a reflective water feature providing a focal point for meditation, and a narrative surface design of concentric stone rings creating an opportunity for sharing and learning.”


An oculus perforating the 18-foot-high canopy will deliver sunlight to a round reflecting pool underneath. The 11-foot-wide basin is raised 1.5 feet above the ground and is surrounded by granite pavers arranged in concentric circles and inscribed with quotations, texts, and reflections by artists, writers, and others affected by AIDS. “The underlying metaphor is of a dense forest grove and the visual impact created when trees are cut down and light streams in from the hole in the canopy,” says Christopher Tepper, the cofounder of the AIDS Memorial Park Coalition.

Concentric Stone Pavers resized 600

The proposed memorial will provide a place for meditation and learning alongside the larger park designed by Rick Parisi of M. Paul Friedberg and Partners and constructed by Rudin Management Company as part of their redevelopment of the former hospital campus.

Plans for the New York City AIDS Memorial proceed next to the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the City Planning Commission. Pending approval by both bodies, the Coalition will prepare construction documents for the memorial and raise funds for its construction and maintenance.

Renderings credit studio a+i 

Porphyry’s composition determines its high compression strength, resistance to stains, slip resistance, and high freeze/thaw ratings.  The stone is the most popular paver in Europe, and is favored for its flexibility in design, beauty, durability and low maintenance requirements. ADA Compliant Porphyry pavers are also adaptable to a permeable paving set. The stone is by far one of the most durable pavers in the world.  These beautiful materials are available from Milestone Imports.   Milestone supports the creativity of architects, planners and designers.  Porphyry offers surfaces of various finishes and mixed colorings, tending towards tones of grey, gold, violet and red, depending on where it is extracted.  –  www.milestoneimports.com