MIT Class of 2002 Peace Garden Design

The MIT Class of 2002 Peace Garden was our Senior Gift Class Project and was completed on June 10, 2011.

After submission of our original proposal, MIT Facilities approved our project provided it was located in the narrow space between Building 16 and 26-100 and that Beverly Pepper “Trinity” sculpture (click here and here to view photos) would be a central part of the garden (per request by MIT LIST Visual Arts Center).

By 2004, we raised enough money to work with well-known landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand to develop a concept design for our Peace Garden. After several meetings, two concepts were chosen: one featuring a long arc-shaped bench and another featuring many staggered benches.

While both designs were aesthetically pleasing and would have achieved our goals of creating a green space for gathering purposes, with a focal point that inspires peace, the consensus among those participating at the design meetings was that the singular arc bench design was more appropriate. The plan to install a vertical object lit from within especially resonated with our class’s goals. The beautiful initial design had an estimated cost of at least $350,000.

However, in October 2010 after the limestone from the Great Dome was replaced due to leaks, the Peace Garden underwent a complete redesign and relocation:

  • Great Dome Limestone(!): We were able to secure limestone from the Great Dome (all of its stones were recently replaced because of leaks). Great Dome limestone will be used for the benches and the pavers on the ground. We are really excited to re-use materials that have such meaning and significance.
  • Location: slightly moved for a few reasons. Accessibility – large boulders block entry to the original site especially for wheelchairs. Privacy – original site looks into classrooms and offices. Large vent located in original site and cannot be moved (part of MIT’s steam system). Visibility – Looking over the new green space between Stata and the Koch buildings (what used to be parking lot that housed the food trucks), this gives the garden a better view, will attract more people as they walk by, and makes it feel more open and inviting. 
  • Benches: Two in current design, might add two more if possible.
  • Lighting: We might add if we can (MIT is trying to reduce its light pollution so need extra approval).
  • Plants: Will use existing plants, a significant cost savings.
  • Fountain: Might be able to use Great Dome limestone for this depending on cost.
  • Timing: Might be completed as early as end of 2010. (Actual completion date of June 2011.)

Here are some additional photos of the October 2010 redesign:

For information on the completed MIT Class of 2002 Peace Garden, click here.