Located on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus in Cambridge, Mass., the Sean Collier Memorial honors MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was killed in the line of duty on April 18, 2013, in the ensuing events three days after the Boston Marathon bombing.
The MIT community felt the loss acutely and turned to J. Meejin Yoon, head of MIT’s architecture department and principal of Höweler + Yoon Architecture, to design a memorial on the site of Collier’s death. Yoon enlisted the help of Carrie Hawley, senior principal at HLB Lighting Design and her Boston-based team, to create a lighting design that would focus on the experience of the place, not the memorial itself as an object.
By day, natural light “illuminates” the memorial, which is constructed from 32 blocks of granite that form five radial walls supporting a shallow stone vault. At night, 28 in-ground LED marker lights represent both the patterns of the stars the night of Collier’s death and one light for each year of Collier’s life.
The site as a whole is lit by 13 LED floodlights located on the three surrounding buildings. Each fixture head is positioned to a specific aiming angle (different than the internal beam spread of the luminaire) to provide key and fill light on the memorial. Custom cross-baffle snoots reduce brightness and glare and custom hardware addresses the unique mounting conditions—poles affixed to a parapet and building façades.
Unique and tragic events called for an unconventional lighting solution. The result is a sensitive design that provides the MIT campus, and the larger community, a spot for reflection. •
Project: Sean Collier Memorial, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. • Client: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. • Architect: Höweler + Yoon Architecture, Boston • Lighting Designer: HLB Lighting Design, Boston • Landscape Architect: Richard Burck Associates, Somerville, Mass. • Electrical Engineer: AHA Consulting Engineers, Lexington, Mass. • Project Size: 7,000 square feet • Project and Lighting Costs: Pro-bono work and donated fixtures • Code Compliance and Watts per Square Foot: Not Applicable
Inter-lux Filix: In-ground warm-white LED marker luminaires • Lumenpulse: Lumenbeam warm-white LED fixtures for floodlighting and moonlighting effect mounted on surrounding buildings