Fire is an important consideration in the design of buildings. From material assemblies, to room layouts, to egress, and fire suppression systems, fire is a powerful force shaping the spaces we inhabit. This video talks about some of those factors while the host, Stewart Hicks, builds a campfire at a cabin in Northern Michigan. Over the course of choosing logs, building, lighting, and enjoying the fire, he breaks down how the construction of buildings relates to principles of constructing a good campfire. He covers theories by Gottfried Sempter, the evolution of fire in the home, considerations in wood frame construction, Bernoulli’s Principle, fire suppression systems, and much more. Grab a seat, bring ingredients for making s’mores, and enjoy some fun fire facts.
Fire: The Latest Architecture and News
Since immemorial time, humans have constructed their shelter and homes using wood. Gradually these structures grew more complex, but wood has continued to play a fundamental role in architecture and construction. Today, especially due to growing concerns about climate change and carbon emissions, wood has been regaining significance as an important building material for the future, if used consciously and sustainably. Wood’s structural performance capabilities make it appropriate for a broad range of applications—from the light-duty repetitive framing common in low and mid-rise structures to the larger and heavier, often hybrid systems, used to build arenas, offices, universities and other buildings where long spans and tall walls are required.
Spurred by disasters like Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, cities across the United States have, over the past 15 years, learned to “live with water.” After more than a century of filling wetlands, damming rivers, and diverting streams and stormwater flows into concrete channels, public officials, influenced by a coterie of landscape architects and planners, have embraced the opposite strategy, investing in open space networks that use dynamic natural systems to slow, store, and absorb floodwaters.
Ranging from yellow, to gray, to traditional red and orange, bricks are ubiquitous in many of our cities and widely used in construction. Briefly, the manufacturing process of traditional bricks involves molding clay and firing it in ovens, facilitating the creation of solid blocks, perforated blocks, cobogós, tiles, and other shapes. Ceramic bricks are inexpensive; easy to find; boast strong resistance, thermal inertia, and finish; and do not require such specialized labor for construction. But if the installation is done near sources of high heat, the common brick will end up cracking and breaking, making refractory bricks more suitable. But what does that mean?
Yuval Noah Harari points out that, around 300 thousand years ago, Homo erectus, Neanderthals, and ancestors of Homo sapiens already used fire daily. According to the author of the international bestseller “Sapiens,” fire created the first significant gap between man and other animals. "By domesticating fire, humans gained control of an obedient and potentially limitless force." Some scholars even believe that there is a direct relationship between the advent of the habit of cooking food (possibly due to the domestication of fire) and the shortening of the intestinal tract and growth of the human brain, which allowed human beings to develop and create everything we now have.
Unless you’re living in a news or social media bubble, it’s unlikely you’ve missed seeing the devastating effects Australia’s climate change exacerbated wildfires and drought have had on the continent. One of the images that still sticks with me is that of the young boy, mask over his face, steering his family’s boat as they flee a large bushfire – flames and smoke enveloping the entire scene within an apocalyptic reddish-orange glow.
The loss of life (humans and wildlife), the destruction of property, infrastructure and habitat, the negative impacts on air quality, biodiversity and access to water, and the resulting refugees will have long term impacts on Australia’s economy and general well-being. What’s worse, these negative impacts have been, and will continue to be, inequitably distributed among the continent’s populations. Not surprisingly, the resulting stress already placed on individuals and social institutions has weakened community cohesion through anti-social actions like water theft.
Fire doors are doors that meet fire resistance standards and can prevent fire (or smoke) from spreading through the floors or living spaces of a building, allowing people to evacuate safely from a fire.
In case of fire, protecting the lives of people is the most important. All occupants of the building should have the opportunity to evacuate on time, and the time available depends largely on the materials chosen and their behavior during fire exposure.
In order to facilitate and optimize this process, the European Union has adopted the Standard EN 13501 , introduced in the 2000s, which specifies a series of classes that determines the anti-fire properties of different materials. Their classifications are unified and compared based on the same test methods, and are currently used as a reference in many countries around the world.
Because of the architect’s role in choosing materials for projects, we have compiled the most important nomenclature to better understand the level of security of our built environment.
This article was originally published on CommonEdge as "Notre-Dame and the Questions It Raises About Sacred Space."
While French firefighters were putting out the destructive blaze at the Notre Dame Cathedral, another holistic site was also up in flames. Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is among the holiest sites in Islam and was built almost 1,300 years ago, was struck by blaze while the monumental Catholic Church was also devastated with fire.
The fire is said to have started in the Al-Marwani Prayer Hall - also known as Solomon's Stables - part of the same compound as Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Fortunately, firemen of the Islamic Waqf department of the city were able to control the fire before any harm was done to the individuals or the other prayer halls. While the cause remains unknown, sources claim that the fire could have been ignited accidentally by children who were near the prayer hall at the time.
For almost a millennium, Notre-Dame Cathedral has stood proudly on Paris’ central Île de la Cité, a symbol of the city’s history, culture, and romanticism. On Monday, April 15th, 2019, thousands who lined the banks of the Seine and millions more across the world watched on in a mixture of disbelief, heartbreak, and helplessness as the Gothic masterpiece burned before their eyes.
The fire has fortunately not claimed any lives but has robbed the landmark of its 19th-century spire, roof, and potentially priceless stained glass windows and interior ornamentation and artwork. At the time of writing, it appears that the main structure of Notre-Dame Cathedral has been saved and preserved, owed to the efforts of 500 firefighters deployed to the disaster.
One day after the fire that partially destroyed the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, we are left to look back at the night of unfolding devastation, and forward at plans to renovate and restore the structure back to its former glory. The 856-year-old structure, which has survived riots, wars, and revolutions, sustained major damage as fire destroyed its central spire, 66% of its roof, and parts of its vaulted interior. Despite the alarming images and videos of the Gothic masterpiece ablaze, it appears that the main structure, and much of the interior, has escaped destruction.
While a full investigation into the cause of the fire will likely take some time, new details continue to emerge on the course of the blaze, and initiatives from the public and private sector to fund the cathedral’s restoration. Below, we recap the timeline that unfolded on the evening of April 15th, before detailing the plans to recover a building emblematic of the history of its city and country.
From the beginning of time, human beings have gathered around the fire. The first settlements and huts included in their interior a small bonfire to cook and maintain the heat of its inhabitants. This tradition has continued to the present, and chimneys and fireplaces have developed into the most varied designs and forms, providing possibilities both inside and outside a home.
To give you ideas for materials, structures, and spatial configurations, we present 35 remarkable meeting places around the fire.
Brazil's National Museum, one of Latin America's most important museums, was completely destroyed by a fire that started at 7:30 pm on Sunday evening. It housed over 20 million items related to the history of the Americas, many if not all of which were lost.
A report in the Rio Times indicates that the museum had operated normally on Sunday and closed its doors at 5:00 pm, two and a half hours before the blaze began. The cause of the fire remains undetermined.
For the second time in 4 years, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art Building is ablaze. The BBC reports that the fire began at 23:00 BST and it has engulfed a large portion of the building. Thankfully no casualites have been reported, but one eye-witness said the building is ”going up like a tinderbox.”
Nearly 8 months after the devastating fire at London’s Grenfell Tower resulted in the loss of 71 lives, the UK government has announced that they will be working together with the tower’s survivors, families and community to determine the future of the Grenfell Tower site.
A government document released with the announcement outlines the guiding principles for handling the future of the site and its memory. According to the document, the most likely results will be an on-site memorial and the renaming of the nearby Latimer Road station of the London Underground:
Eco-Friendly Insulation Offers Thermal Performance, Sound Absorption and Fire Resistance at the Same Time
With the aim of promoting more efficient ways to isolate and protect building envelopes, the Chilean team Rootman has developed Thermoroot; a biodegradable and 100% natural insulation made from roots without genetic modifications or chemical additives. These roots make up what the company is calling a Radicular Mattress which, in addition to thermally and acoustically insulating the walls, floors, and ceilings of buildings, it is fire resistant.