While glass is generally singled out as the weakest part of a building, it is not always true. With technological advances and the continuous innovations of the industry, there is glass that, even while allowing natural light to enter an environment, can protect the building from fire. Beyond fire, there are also other threats such as hot gases, smoke, and heat transmission, which put the safe evacuation of people and the protection of property at risk.
Fire Safety: The Latest Architecture and News
Tall timber buildings are on the rise. Design teams around the world are taking advantage of ever-evolving mass timber technologies, resulting in taller and taller structures. Building off our recent article exploring the future of high-rise buildings, we’re taking a deeper dive into new emerging timber technologies and the advantages of building taller with wood. This tutorial explores how to make tall timber structures a reality.
Building design today, and throughout the 20th century, has been significantly shaped by fire safety considerations. Architects today are familiar with the wide range of code requirements for a building to be compliant, from materials, to fire extinguisher locations, to fire-rated walls and doors. As buildings have become better-equipped to withstand fire emergencies, however, modern life has simultaneously increased the amount of fire hazards we live with.
Insufficiently regulated in much of the world, the fire resistance of glass is an important issue that is often poorly resolved, endangering people's lives. What characteristics must a glass have to resist a fire? What options are there to choose from? We talked with the experts of Cristales Dialum to investigate these essential questions.
Architects and designers are constantly looking to the latest design and façade trends to create attractive buildings for their clients. The challenge they face is delivering a creative look that meets building code compliance and testing standards. With high-rise buildings in particular, it is critical that the materials used for the building's construction perform effectively to prevent a disaster if a fire occurs.
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.
Architecture is powerful, and like nuclear energy, it all depends on how it is used. While it can create uninhabitable municipalities, it can also create safer cities that improve quality of life.
In various examples, urban design has provided a response to deteriorated or abandoned public spaces. It has shown that distribution and lighting are essential, but that it is also necessary to consider who will be using the space and how to make it an environment that generates community.
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:
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has released an official statement on design for fire safety following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire on June 14. The causes and aftermath of the catastrophic fire, which ravaged 27 storeys of the council estate in the London borough of North Kensington are currently under investigation, with a team of 250+ working on operations including recovering and identifying victims (the death toll has risen to 80+) according to recent reports from the BBC and the Met Police. The aluminium-composite cladding Reynobond PE - identified as one of the main reasons for the fire’s spread up the building’s façade has sparked outrage over failed safety regulations and debate over the lack of responsibility behind the building’s (and many others) construction overall. Further fire safety tests revealed the cladding to be present in up to 60 similar council estates with more being urged to submit samples for testing.
For a quick summary, we’ve covered some key points from each of the 3 sections addressed RIBA's statement below:
As Central London Residential Tower is Subject to Devastating Fire and Loss of Life, Questions Raised About Recent Refurbishment
A 24-storey residential tower—Grenfell House—in North Kensington, London, has been subject to a devastating fire and extensive subsequent loss of life. 200 firefighters in 45 fire engines attended the scene following reports of fire at around 0100 local time. The building, originally constructed in 1974, underwent a restoration by Studio E [at this time their website is not responding] "less than two years ago," reports the Architects' Journal.
While interest in tall timber buildings continues to grow, there still remains one obvious concern: combustibility. So how safe are timber structures really? Arup Connect spoke with Robert Gerard, a fire engineer in Arup’s San Francisco office, to find out how high-rise wood buildings take fire safety into account.
Michael Green is calling for a drastic paradigm shift in the way we build. Forget steel, straw, concrete and shipping containers; use wood to erect urban skyscrapers. In a 240 page report - complete with diagrams, plans, renders and even typical wooden curtain wall details - Green outlines a new way of designing and constructing tall buildings using mass timber, all the while addressing common misconceptions of fire safety, structure, sustainability, cost and climate concerns.