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Covid-19 Memorial Design Competition

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+ Designer's Choice Winner

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Corina Hilbert

ID: 1219

Designer's Choice Award

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ID: 1219
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This memorial has been created to give context back to those we have lost, and to mourn them. However, as it deals with an ongoing crisis, it is also designed as a warning for the future of what we went through, and of how much is at stake.

In Queens, we don’t always know people by name. My neighbor passed away a few months ago, and I didn’t know his name. I knew him as my neighbor, as a kind smile on my walk home, as the one who always gave out the best candy on Halloween. We are a community, defined by everyday interactions, and we know each other within that community framework. This context has been stripped away by the pandemic; we lose people in a void.

Giving the community an opportunity to remember them as they had known them in life, each death is represented by a quote, rather than just a name. Each quote is placed on a recycled plastic plaque, which is anchored to a metal pole through the center. The plaques are designed to spin in the ocean wind, creating a wall of living, moving memorials. Ribbons are tied between the plaques by mourners in personal remembrance of their loved ones. They flow in the wind, enhancing the movement of the memorial.

Within this memorial, the weight of the COVID-19 crisis is emphasized not only through the sheer size of the memorial, as it spans 400’ of beach, but through the location and shape. As you move through the memorial, the sound of waves crashing echoes around you, muffling conversations and imposing a sense of isolation onto an otherwise public space. As you reach the end of the spinning walls, the memorial opens up around you, confronting you with the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. If you continue to the end of the pier, you will confront a feeling of overwhelming smallness against the huge crisis we went through, as represented by the ocean. You will see the beach, and your community, running parallel to you, but will be unable to interact or connect because of the gulf of water in between. Looking back, you will not be able to see where you came from, the walls of the memorial twisting away and out of sight, and you will feel lost to this lonely expanse. You will be alone, sheltered by the white noise of the waves. In isolation, you will have to process the grief inspired by the loss to this community.

Corina HilbertCorina HilbertCorina HilbertCorina Hilbert

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