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Fire Safety: The Latest Architecture and News

Reaction And Fire Resistance: How Are Materials Classified In The Event Of A Fire?

04:00 - 1 May, 2019
Reaction And Fire Resistance: How Are Materials Classified In The Event Of A Fire?, Conceptual Diagram. Image Cortesía de ArchDaily
Conceptual Diagram. Image Cortesía de ArchDaily

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 [1], 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.

Why Public Spaces are the Safest Investment for Secure Cities

08:00 - 2 December, 2018
Why Public Spaces are the Safest Investment for Secure Cities, © Rodrigo Tagle
© Rodrigo Tagle

Cortesía de Fundación Mi Parque Cortesía de Fundación Mi Parque Cortesía de Fundación Mi Parque Cortesía de Fundación Mi Parque + 20

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.

UK Announces Plans to Work with Survivors and Families to Create Memorial on Grenfell Tower Site

12:30 - 5 March, 2018
UK Announces Plans to Work with Survivors and Families to Create Memorial on Grenfell Tower Site, Grenfell Tower. Image © Flickr user paulhird. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Grenfell Tower. Image © Flickr user paulhird. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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:

RIBA Releases Statement Addressing Grenfell Fire Tragedy

12:00 - 8 July, 2017
RIBA Releases Statement Addressing Grenfell Fire Tragedy, © Wikimedia User Stemoc (CC-BY-4.0)
© Wikimedia User Stemoc (CC-BY-4.0)

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

08:15 - 14 June, 2017
As Central London Residential Tower is Subject to Devastating Fire and Loss of Life, Questions Raised About Recent Refurbishment, Grenfell Tower, North Kensington, pluming smoke. Photograph taken at 06.15 BST on the 14th June 2017. Image © Selim Halulu
Grenfell Tower, North Kensington, pluming smoke. Photograph taken at 06.15 BST on the 14th June 2017. Image © Selim Halulu

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.

Tall Tinder: Are Wooden Skyscrapers Really Fire Safe?

01:00 - 10 March, 2014
Tall Tinder: Are Wooden Skyscrapers Really Fire Safe?, IZM - Illwerke Zentrum Montafon / Architekten Hermann Kaufmann ZT GmbH. Image © Norman A. Müller
IZM - Illwerke Zentrum Montafon / Architekten Hermann Kaufmann ZT GmbH. Image © Norman A. Müller

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.

The Case For Tall Wood Buildings

00:00 - 28 October, 2013
The Case For Tall Wood Buildings, Courtesy of Michael Green Architecture
Courtesy of Michael Green Architecture

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.