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MICHAEL SORKIN: "The values of free access and free assembly, the means by which democracy defends itself, are in the hands of architects... They [architects] have failed to defend a public realm that’s under threat from the paranoid surveillance of a draconian regime as well as from terrorism. Architects have a duty to defend the accessibiity of public space.”
RICHARD SENNETT: “When faced with this kind of terrorism a bunker mentality emerges. After 9/11 almost every building in the US became like a fortress. The Brits are more balanced, Americans have very little experience of dealing with danger on the ground, so they overreact.”
Here's a new type of education... architecture and urban-planning students in Bristol, UK will be taking part in a terrorism simulation as part of a seminar teaching them how to design terrorism-retardent (?) buildings. The semimar will apparently emphasise legal implications if they don't take terrorism into account when designing.. wonder what that means... I don't think my insurance covers that.
news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/bristol/somerset/7726917.stm BBC 13.11.08
I have been interested in modern defensive architecture since I stumbled across Gehry's paranoid Hollywood Library in 1993. This building manages to repel rather than entice the public. It is very safe though.
I don't want to wake up one day and be surprised to find that the BCA has a Part K: Building Protection that forces us to design buildings that have a negative impact on the spaces around them. The Building Code of Australia is being reviewed right now. www.abcb.gov.au/go/whatweredoing/workprogram/projectspt "The ABCB Office is monitoring initiatives to improve the protection of critical infrastructure and iconic structures against threats such as terrorism." The definition of critical infrastructure is broader than you would think, even including food outlets.
The RIBA-sponsered exercise mentioned above, involving freaking architecture students out with worst case scenarios then threatening them with future legal action, is not healthy eductaion. But it could get worse - there is a discussion in the UK about whether 'security modules' should be added to an architect's education ( here, half way down the page). A debate at the London Architecture Festival in June revolved around the role of architects in counter-terrorism. Speaking against the motion, "this house believes that we should fortify our cities", architect John Adams said, “if you harden the main targets, the bombers just make icons out of the buses in Tavistock Square – you can’t harden the whole world.”
On Friday the UK Home Office and the RIBA launched a competition open to UK architecure students. Public Spaces, Safer Places, (brief is here), asks students to design a one hectare square in London, containing pubs, retail, housing etc, with measures against "person-borne and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices" being the main focus. As Piers Gough said at the London debate, "Every special interest group in the country wants architects on their side to carry their paranoia! Don’t listen to them!”"
ok. i think there was a conference about this stuff at rmit a couple of years ago....architecture and terror or something. it may have got cought up with virilio bunkers and castles crap but the papers are available i think.
Yes there was a small conference which I managed to miss. Architecture & War I think it was called.
Update. Piers Gough has attacked the competition (above) and asked students to boycott it. He has some backing from a couple of heads of school in the UK. INDEPENDENT 24.11.08
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