triangle fire memorial
The Triangle Fire Memorial competition was an opportunity to recognize the 146 workers who perished in a tragic 1911 factory fire in the New York Asch (now Brown) building.
At the urban scale, the memorial is designed to read as a cohesive whole and as an easily identifiable landmark. In order to respectfully clothe rather than completely cover the historical Brown building, the memorial occupies primarily the lower levels of the building, those visually and physically accessible to pedestrians. At this more intimate, individual scale, passers-by can perceive that the overall form of the memorial is in fact made up of many singular elements. 146 unique copper strips, one for each of the Triangle Fire victims, each bearing a victim's name, line the lower portion of the Brown Building. Each back-lit strip bends and twists at a different height, giving the memorial--and stamped names--a soft glow at night. Several clusters of strands extend from the base to reach up the building, drawing up the eye and making the memorial visible from afar.
Copper was chosen as the primary material due to its unique physical appearance. Aside from the long history of craft associated with copper, its color changes over time and its surface acquires a beautiful patina, ensuring that the memorial will never be static. Its appearance will continually change, from golden orange, to dark purple, to black, and eventually to green.
In collaboration with: Gabriel Fain