Image courtesy of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office
Puerto Rico-based architect Segundo Cardona and artist Antonio Martorell will design the Battery Park City Hurricane Maria memorial to honor the Puerto Rican community, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday. The pair’s design is the result of a review and selection process by the Hurricane Maria Memorial Commission, which selected the winning submission. Over one hundred proposals were submitted in response to a call for entries that began last August.
As 6sqft previously reported, Cuomo announced plans for the project last September, on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s landfall. He established the Hurricane Maria Memorial Commission to solicit designs for a memorial honoring the victims and to stand as an international symbol of the resilience of the Puerto Rican community. The commission is overseen by Reps. Nydia Velazquez and Jose Serrano, Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, Assembly Member Maritza Davila and New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado.
The Esplanade and the Chambers Street Overlook in Battery Park City were chosen as potential sites, and applicants were invited to submit a design for one or both, or as many as two distinct ideas for each site. The memorial will be completed and on public view by the first quarter of 2021.
Cardona and Martorell’s design is comprised of an “ascending glass spiral,” which brings to mind both a hurricane and a shell, “a symbol of protection for living organisms against a hostile environment.” At the apex of the spiral is an upward rotating star–the star of the Puerto Rican flag. The poem “Farewell from Welfare Island” by one of Puerto Rico’s most beloved poets, Julia de Burgos, is painted on the memorial’s glass panels. The poem tells of the resiliency of the Puerto Rican people. The piece is an organic combination of art, architecture, and literature.
Segundo Cardona is a Puerto Rican architect and developer focused on “bringing the urban landscape, nature, architecture and art together to create accessible and impacting spaces.” Antonio Martorell is a longtime artist-in-residence at the University of Puerto Rico in Cayey and a member of the Academia Puertorriqueña de la Lengua Española who has had work exhibited around the world.
“We witnessed firsthand the terrible experience of Hurricane Maria and its aftermath,” Cardona and Martorell said in a joint statement. “It was an honor to collaborate on the creation of our proposal for the memorial. Our idea was that the memorial needed to be visually strong, accessible and sensitive to the site. We felt committed to work hard to bring together architecture, art and literature into one single powerful message that we hope will engage and invoke reflection on the fate of the many victims.”
The Hurricane Maria Memorial is part of Governor Cuomo’s broad response to a series of natural disasters in Puerto Rico. New York State has dedicated approximately $13 million to help displaced victims of Hurricane Maria who are living in New York. Governor Cuomo has also directed critical resources to communities in need following Hurricane Maria’s landfall in September 2017.
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