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.
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.
PROJECT DESIGN TEAM
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 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.
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