Cambridge, MA: Sean Collier Memorial is 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 solid blocks of granite that form a five-way stone vault. Each block supports the other to create a central, covered space for reflection. Inspired by the gesture of an open hand, the memorial’s shallow stone vault is buttressed by five radial walls, which extend outward toward the campus. The ovoid space at the center of the radial walls creates a passage, a marker, and an aperture that reframes the site.

The intersection of the star-shaped form and the central void creates a smooth, curved surface the underside of which acts as a bevel marker and reads “In the line of duty, Sean Collier, April 18, 2013.” The longest walls of the memorial shelter the site from Vassar Street and simultaneously create an entry into the memorial. The two most acute walls are aligned with the location of the shooting just a few feet away. Carved into the south-facing wall is an epitaph from Sean’s brother’s eulogy, “Live long like he would. Big hearts, big smiles, big service, all love.”  Clusters of honey locust trees create a living canopy above the solid stone structure to mark the passage of time.  In contrast, point lights set into the pavers permanently inscribe the constellation of stars in the sky the night of April 18th, 2013.

Share More: MIT News by J. Meejin Yoon https://architecture.mit.edu/project/sean-collier-memorial