William C. Tripp Architect

West-Park Light Tower

New York, NY
2013 Unbuilt

West-Park Presbyterian Church is a small congregation in New York City with a long and illustrious history. The original chapel, designed by Leopold Eidlitz, was built in 1884. The main church and bell tower, designed by Henry Kilburn, were constructed in 1890. The Sanctuary is a rare, beautiful, acoustically magnificent space. The façade of red sandstone is crumbling and the building needs an extensive restoration.

The Center at West Park is a non-profit organization, housed in West-Park Church, committed to social justice, community building, and the creative arts. Though the church is the initiator and host of The Center, The Center itself is not affiliated with any religious tradition or denomination.

The Light Tower art installation is intended to celebrate West-Park's history, call attention to its renewed mission, and be a catalyst for restoration fund-raising. It will mark a place in the city where people are dedicated to creating a welcoming and inclusive community. In particular it commemorates the milestone of the More Light Presbyterian movement at West-Park, the place of the first declaration of inclusiveness from the pulpit in 1978.

The lighting installation can be seen as the sun rising inside the bell tower, representing awakening, restoration and rebirth. It can also be seen as a rainbow, representing diversity and inclusiveness.

Full-color LED light fixtures create both light and color. The controls allow for increasing the light intensity gradually, and to have the light start at the bottom and rise up through the tower, to further symbolize the sunrise. Turning on the lights will become a daily ritual, for both church and city.

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