LPC to Review Proposals for the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Memorial, in Greenwich Village

Historic image of 29 Washington circa 1911 (left) and renderings of the proposed memorial from Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition

In 1911, the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire claimed 146 lives, most of whom were young immigrant women. To commemorate the garment workers who perished in the fire, activists from the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition have revealed proposals to construct a memorial at the site of the disaster.

Located in Greenwich Village at 29 Washington Place, the original landmarked building that housed the factory is owned by New York University, and houses some of the institution’s biology and chemistry labs. Following a design competition hosted by the coalition, architects Richard Joon Yoo and Uri Wegman were commissioned for the memorial which they have titled “Reframing the Sky.”

On the building’s ground floor facade, designers have proposed the installation a reflective panel with a brief history of the fire and the names of each identified victim. As a symbolic marker of where many the workers died, a textured, stainless steel ribbon would rise from the first floor up to the building’s ninth floor, just below the existing ornamental cornice.

Renderings of the proposed memorial from Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition

Renderings of the proposed memorial from Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition

Pending approvals, the memorial is expected to be finished by March 25, 2020, which would be the 109th anniversary of the fire.

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8 Comments on "LPC to Review Proposals for the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Memorial, in Greenwich Village"

  1. Please pardon me for using your space: I was quiet for a few minutes for this disaster, way to relieved I trust on naming look. (Thank you)

  2. Not much of a memorial. Something better should be expected.

  3. This is an example of the abstractionfatigue’ under which the culture has labored for decades. This looks like the tired DC ‘Vietnam Nam Memorial’ trope trotted out and re-worked one more time. A simple bronze plaque or a cluster of plaques, in the manner of Augustus St.Gaudens or Daniel Chester French (google them!) affixed to the wall at the prominent corner would have been far more powerful and arresting to discretely come upon or quietly discover and reconnect with the enormity of the tragedy commemorated. Instead we have this over-scaled, over the top, screaming ‘installation’ that is narcissistically more preoccupied with itself and its relation to the (relatively) recent architectural/art historical past than with any true and respectful, direct, contemplative and dignified memorialization of the victims of this sad event.

  4. This memorial is creative and thought provoking. It draws one’s eye up the building to create awareness of how the tragedy unfolded.

  5. What a great news story. The design is beautiful, solemn and compelling. Instead of another tired ‘plaque’ the ‘ribbon” will draw passerby’s attention, encourage to reflect on the magnitude of the tragedy while at the same time connect with the individual stories of the workers, women and men, who died in the fire. This memorial is bound to become a major NY landmark like the 911 Memorial. My deepest appreciation to all those who have labored so hard to make it happen.

  6. I think the memorial and its design are very fitting. Right now, there are a few plaques that are not noticeable. This memorial is an original and meaningful tribute to the victims of the fire. By extending the “ribbon” to the top floors (where the people worked and some jumped from) to the ground level where their names are listed, it evokes the horrible experience of what these people went through. What I especially like is that is does not interfere with the everyday function of the building as it is being used by NYU students. In a respectful way, it complements the site and lets people be aware that something significant happened there. It is educational and gives the building its rightful place in our history. As a family descendant of one of the 146 victims of the fire, I wholeheartedly support the design and mission of this memorial.

  7. I’m confused about the negative comments. The design looks terrific. It’s sober and dignified, but also exciting, lovely. It will make this building, at long last, a true memorial to the Triangle Fire. It’ll make the building a destination for both history buffs and ordinary people who care about workers and human rights.

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