There’s been a lot of debate over a southern border wall in the USA. But walls are trending in the post-9/11 age. The latest example: Paris is erecting a $20 million glass wall around the Eiffel Tower. The magnificent iron lattice tower with the unique four-arched girder base will be hedged by a transparent, bulletproof protective perimeter. Of all structures, how could Paris’ iconic landmark get the border treatment? In a word: terrorism.
The Eiffel Tower may be the world’s most spectacular architectural marvel—which also makes it a prominent terrorism target. France is still under a heightened state of security following multiple terrorist attacks that have killed more than 300 citizens since 2014, including the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine shooting, the coordinated Paris attacks, and the Bastille Day attack in Nice. French natives are aghast at the idea of an Eiffel Tower wall, but the new reality is slowly registering. Paris will construct the “anti-ballistic” wall as another layer of security, dictated by the recent spike in terror plots. Better safe than sorry.
Architecture is a freedom of expression—a commentary on open skylines, environments, people, communities, and society itself. But how far should society go when that freedom is threatened by unnatural forces such as terrorism? The world witnessed the worst on 9/11 as 2,997 innocent victims and the World Trade Center’s “Twin Towers” perished in only a couple of hours. Today, no city is immune from security threats to its citizens, structures and populated plazas.
“The front lines of defense—our police, military and intelligence services—have not proved to be fully effective against determined adversaries, and perhaps they cannot be successful,” says Thomas Vonier (FAIA), a Paris and Washington, D.C.-based architect with an extensive record in security planning and design. “The real front line becomes the public realm: streets, squares, and promenades, schools, courthouses, and places of worship, commerce and assembly. So architects are on the front line. Security is very much a part of what architects must consider.”
The realities are harsh. Turkey, whose Atatürk airport in Istanbul was victimized in 2016, is constructing a modern airport—the world’s largest with state-of-the-art secure terminals. Brussels, Belgium is also improving security measures at its airport and metro stations after coordinated terror attacks there last March. Western society, mainly the United States and Europe, are on notice.
Barbara A. Nadel, (FAIA) principal of New York-based Barbara Nadel Architect, says free society is still grappling with openness and security in an era of escalating threats and unprecedented violence. She says the integration of security planning and efficient design is a fundamental concept architects, engineers and building owners must master for every major project—primarily for liability issues.
Nadel’s book Building Security: Handbook for Architectural Planning and Design, addresses a comprehensive approach to security by integrating design, technology and operations. Nadel says following 9/11 the U.S. federal government (especially the General Services Administration, responsible for courthouses and office buildings) provided guidance to the design community—some of which was adapted by the private sector.
Source: SANS ISC SecNewsFeed @ February 27, 2017 at 07:57PM