RIBA Tackles Terrorism

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RIBA Tackles Terrorism

Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Sep 03, 2002 9:38 am

RIBA Tackles Terrorism
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is holding a seminar on “Designing Out Terrorism” on 10 September 2002. Following on from its successful “Designing Out Crime” series, this workshop will examine ways in which architects and city planners can use design, as far as is possible, to prevent the effects of terrorist activity.

Joni Tyler, Head of Continuing Professional Development at the RIBA said, “The threat of terrorism in our cities has never been greater than at this time. Architects and other professionals can play a crucial role in constructing and developing buildings and urban areas which protect people from the impacts of terrorism. This course will show how we can overcome our fears and create safer living and working environments.”

The one-day course will be led by crime and terrorist experts Bob Knights and Heather Alston. Bob is currently the Chair of the Designing Out Crime Association and his work in the Metropolitan Police Service involved being Chair of the ACPO Crime Prevention Technical Committee. Heather is a serving Police Officer with the Essex Constabulary and two of her positions are Counter Terrorism Officer and a licensed Police Search Advisor. There will also be representation from MI6 who will explore examples of current threats.

The course is open to architects, planners, civil engineers, facilities managers and surveyors. For more information email: joni.tyler@inst.riba.org
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Postby trace » Mon Sep 09, 2002 10:46 am

Embassy Architects Juggle Security, Aesthetics: "For over a year, architects have been at work creating a master plan of sorts for new American embassies overseas." Full story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A24278-2002Sep1.html
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Sep 09, 2002 1:04 pm

MI5 – the counter espionage branch of the secret service – is set to advise architects on how to design buildings against the threat of suicide attacks in the UK.

It is understood that MI5’s Protective Security Branch has advised central government on how to make its building safer since 11 September. Now it is determined to help architects to reduce the threat to privately owned buildings as well.

UK authorities are determined that lessons should be learnt from Israel, the country seen as leading the world in construction counter terrorism measures. In May, the Islamic fundamentalist terror group Hamas successfully attacked a shopping mall in Netanya with devastating results and MI5 is committed to stopping the same happening here.

At the forefront of recommendations to architects is a commitment to hardened glass. Experts say that most injuries from bombings come from the glass-shrapnel thrown into the air and believe toughened windows would help to counter this problem.

Other suggestions – also taken from Israeli experiences – include reducing the size and number of entrances to buildings. Access should be kept to a minimum, MI5 is recommending, with maximum facilities for security guards.

Israeli counter-terrorism specialist engineer Itzhak Fox called on architects to assess every aspect of their designs. ‘You have to identify the weak points of the building and then find a solution to every such point,’ he said.
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Postby RSJ » Tue Sep 10, 2002 11:45 am

I wonder what a truly terrorist-proof building would look like? One worries that architecture will vanish as security men take over.

Maybe it won't be that bad, though. When a huge terrorist bomb destroyed the glass cladding of buildings in a huge area of the City of London a few years back, one building very close to the epicentre was virtually undamaged.

It was Richard Rogers' Lloyd's of London building. Whether by accident or design, it was virtually blast-proof. Perhaps all that external plumbing diffused the shock wave.
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Postby trace » Fri Sep 13, 2002 5:05 pm

The Aesthetics of Security: A Slide Show http://slate.msn.com/?id=2070683
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Postby RSJ » Fri Sep 13, 2002 6:29 pm

Embassies are fertile ground in this area. Take a look at the new British Embassy in Moscow, completed in 1999. It is very secure but manages not to be wholly fortress-like:

http://www.abk.co.uk/docs/projectpage.html
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Postby trace » Fri Sep 13, 2002 10:10 pm

Laganside Courts, Belfast: http://www.hurdrolland.co.uk/belfast_crown_court.asp

"The physical parameters of the building's footprint were restricted by the need for a 20-metre security set back to the public façade on Victoria Street. The security buffer to Victoria Street allowed the complex to be more psychologically and visually open to the public."

Compare this to the existing courts building fronting onto the same street: it is sheltered behind a concrete blast-wall. Apparently, the damage to glass walls from a remote bomb is quite quickly repaired, getting the courts back into action more quickly than would be the case with a bunker-type building, built hard against the kerbside, which must absorb the full shock of any bomb blast.
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Postby trace » Mon Mar 17, 2003 11:27 pm

Dear, oh dear . . . U.S. Undersecretary of State for Management, Grant Green, officially opening the fortress-like US embassy in Kenya, described it as "a permanent and living memorial, a triumph of hope . . . "
http://www.latimes.com/la-fg-embassy4mar04,0,7356866.story
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Postby trace » Mon Jul 28, 2003 4:24 pm

From "Glass Walls to Bunkers: The New Look of U.S. Embassies", by Michael J Lewis, published in The New York Times on July 27, 2003:

"An embassy can speak to the world of America's freedom and openness, its confidence and prosperity or, as with the Kenya Embassy, its fear. . ."

"Modern architecture hit its high-water mark during the 1950's, exalting clarity of form, flowing space and rational construction. Its essential element was the glass curtain wall, which enclosed space without closing it off. The cold war was also at a peak in the 50's, and the struggle was as much cultural as diplomatic. In the cold war embassy, politics and architecture combined to give the curtain wall geopolitical significance. Its openness and transparency made it an ideal metaphor for America, especially in opposition to the drab and bulky public buildings of Communism. On embassy rows around the world, the glass curtain confronted the Iron Curtain, rebuking its totalitarian opacity. To create these architectural cold warriors, the State Department enlisted virtually all of the nation's most celebrated architects. . ."

"Washington was stunned by the seizure of its embassy in Tehran in 1979, and the bombing of the Lebanon Embassy in 1983 (resulting in 63 deaths). In 1985, the State Department set up a commission to establish guidelines for building new embassies. The glass curtain wall was the first casualty. Window space was limited to 15 percent of the wall surface. Even more decisive were two other rules: buildings must be set back 100 feet from the street and set on at least 15 acres. The former rule severed a building's relationship to the street — a vital element considering its key purpose is to present America to a foreign culture. This rule also made it too expensive to buy downtown locations. In moving to the suburban compound, the embassy's traditional role as a civic building was discarded. As Jane C. Loeffler, the author of "The Architecture of Diplomacy: Building America's Embassies," said, "You can only make civic architecture in a civic situation." . . ."

"Americans have accepted these changes in part because they take place abroad. It may be different when they affect the central buildings of American political life at home. . . A human being communicates both consciously and unconsciously, through the conscious rhetoric of speech but also through the unconscious eloquence of body language. So it is with buildings. They can relax in an open stance of welcome, or huddle in a protective crouch. . . Important structures overseas and in Washington have just flinched."

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/27/weekinreview/27LEWI.html
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Re: RIBA Tackles Terrorism

Postby trace » Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:45 am

And now . . . 'transparent security' for buildings: http://www.buildings.com/Articles/detailBuildings.asp?ArticleID=2982
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