• Sean Collier Memorial
  • Sean Collier Memorial
  • Sean Collier Memorial
  • Sean Collier Memorial
  • Sean Collier Memorial
  • Sean Collier Memorial

Sean Collier Memorial

J. Meejin Yoon


Vasser St. Entrance to the Ray and Maria Stata Center

Situated on MIT’s campus in honor of Officer Sean Collier who was shot and killed on April 18th 2013, the Collier Memorial marks the site of tragedy with a timeless structure—translating the phrase “Collier Strong” into a space of remembrance through a form that embodies the concept of strength through unity. The memorial is composed of thirty-two blocks of granite that form a five-way stone vault. Each block supports the other to create a covered space for reflection. The Collier Memorial evokes a star shape as well as an open hand, referencing MIT’s motto, Mens et Manus (Mind and Hand). The ovoid space at the center of the radial walls creates a passage, a marker, and an aperture that reframes the site.

The design combines age-old structural techniques for spanning masonry vaults with new digital fabrication and structural computation technologies to create an unprecedented form. The structure relies on the exact fit of thirty-two stone blocks to transfer loads in pure compression from stone to stone. The shallowness of the massive vault overhead creates an effect of suspension and weightlessness, while the tapered geometry of the individual stone blocks that form the compression ring reveals the keystone geometry of the masonry arch.

This didactic visualization of forces is consistent with MIT’s ethos of openness and transparency, while the idea that all five walls are needed to achieve a stable form is symbolic of a community coalescing to commemorate a loss. The Memorial offers the opportunity to remember Officer Sean Collier and honor his life, service, and represent shared values: openness in the face of threat, unity through diversity, and strength through community.

Strength Through Unity: The making of the Collier Memorial at MIT

MIT appreciates thoughtful offerings left in the memory of and honoring Officer Sean Collier. Please note that in the interest of public safety and the appearance of the memorial, MIT will remove the items placed at the site of the memorial. Thank you for your understanding.  


Design: J. Meejin Yoon, AIA

Architect of Record: Höweler + Yoon Architecture LLP
Specialty Masonry Consultant: Ochsendorf DeJong and Block Consulting Engineers

Structural Engineer: Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering

Structural Engineer of Record: RSE Associates

Landscape Architect: Richard Burck Associates

Civil Engineer: Nitsch Engineering 

Geotechnical Engineer: McPhail Associates

Lighting Designer: Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design

Electrical Engineer: AHA Consulting Engineers

Typographic Consultant: Francesca Bolognini

 MIT Research Assistants: William Plunkett (SMBT ’15), Corentin Fivet (Post Doc), Euipoom Estelle Yoon (BSA ’16), Anna Kaertner (BSA ’15), Cecile Lu (BSA ’16), Marianna Gonzalez (Wellesley BA ’16)

Sean Collier Permanent Memorial Committee

Martin Schmidt, Provost and Professor of Electrical Engineering

John DiFava, Director of Facilities Operations and Security

Steven Hall, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Chair of the Faculty

Mark Jarzombek, Professor of the History and Theory of Architecture

Kris Brewer Webmaster, School of Engineering

Sara Ferry Graduate Student, Nuclear Science and Engineering

Sally Miller, Undergraduate Student Mechanical Engineering

Kevin O’Connor, Patrol Officer MIT Police

Cheryl Vossmer, Sergeant MIT Police

MIT Construction Management Team

Richard Amster, Director of Facilities Operations and Security

Paul J. Murphy, Program Manager Special Projects

Jennifer Combs, Project Manager Special Projects

Julie Azzinaro, Project Assistant

Construction Team

Construction Manager: Suffolk Construction

Stone Fabricator: Quarra Stone Company, LLC

Granite Erector: Phoenix Bay State Construction Company

Granite Supplier (Quarry): Virginia Mist Group

Landscape Contractor: Valleycrest Landscape Development

Granite and Field Surveyor: Feldman Land Surveyors

Geotechnical Construction Company: Hayward Baker

Concrete Placement: G&C Concrete Construction

Paver Supplier: Hanover Pavers

Electrical Contractor: Gaston Electrical Co. Inc.

Construction Labor: Liberty Construction

Site Development Contractor: James W. Flett Co. Inc.

  • ©John Horner

  • ©Iwan Baan

  • ©Iwan Baan

  • ©Iwan Baan

  • ©John Horner

  • ©John Horner




Public Space / Memorial


32 Granite Stone Blocks (milled within a 0.5mm tolerance)


6,300 sq. ft.,  320 tons of Jet Mist Granite


Höweler + Yoon Architecture, LLP

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