The Sean Collier Memorial is located at the heart of the MIT campus in Cambridge, Mass.
Andy Caulfield The Sean Collier Memorial is located at the heart of the MIT campus in Cambridge, Mass.

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.

Site Plan: The fixtures that illuminate the site are mounted on the surrounding buildings.Diagrammatic Sections: A high level of coordination was required to reconcile the aiming angles based on the fixture location and building heights.
Site Plan: The fixtures that illuminate the site are mounted on the surrounding buildings.
Diagrammatic Sections: A high level of coordination was required to reconcile the aiming angles based on the fixture location and building heights.


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.

The fixtures that illuminate the site are pole-mounted on the surrounding buildings.
Andy Caulfield The fixtures that illuminate the site are pole-mounted on the surrounding buildings.
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.
Andy Caulfield 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.

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. •

Granite blocks form the memorial.
Andy Caulfield Granite blocks form the memorial.


DETAILS
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

Manufacturers
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