Can Architecture and Smart Design Help Prevent Terrorism?

London, Paris, Stockholm, Brussels, Manchester and Nice – the list of cities hit by terrorism continues to grow by the month. While this has seen volumes of page space devoted to try and explain the reasons behind the carnage, scant attention has been given to the use of urban design as an anti-terror weapon. But what if we could use smart design and architectural innovation to help prevent this scourge? Could better urban design help in the fight against global terror?

The concept of attenuating public space to improve public safety is nothing new. Ever since ‘The Troubles’ of the 1970s and 80s, the UK has changed and redesigned parts of Belfast and Londonderry in Northern Ireland a bid to better cope with future IRA attacks.

As for the US, since September 11, 2001, America’s architects have been on a steep learning curve on how to balance between designing for aesthetics and designing for public safety.

Today this scenario has more resonance considering that since 2007, more people than ever in human history are residing in urban centres as opposed to rural ones. By 2050, it has been estimated that up to 75 percent of the global population will be classified as being urban.

This massive increase in urban habitation invariably means an increase in high-density living. The irony being of course, when it comes to public safety and social cohesion, high-rise and high-density structures rarely make the list of final designs.

can architecture and design prevent terrorism?
Photo: article provided

Minimalistic public safety designs 101

In New York City, one popular public safety feature has been the addition of bollards to many public spaces. But these were not just any old bollards – in the city’s famed financial district, these bespoke bollards are designed to be also used as street furniture and aesthetic enhancements.

However, while it’s easier to redesign (or re-engineer) a relatively simple item like a bollard – entire buildings, and for that matter, whole neighbourhoods, are a very different proposition.

Considering the need for safety usually trumps most other human needs, perhaps it’s time to consider combining the need for beauty with the need for safety especially in an era that bears the burden of the “ugliness of terrorism”.

At the same time, it should not be all bland function over beauty and form. Last year, the president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Ruth Reed, highlighted RIBA’s ‘counter-terrorism design guidelines’ and noted that it was “important to remember that we are an open and inclusive society”. In terms of architectural design, she claims we shouldn’t be “driven by security measures”.

This article was originally published by Architecture and Design.

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Queensland Government Plans First Inner-City Brisbane School In Decades

Two new schools will open in the inner-city in Brisbane and another significantly expanded as the Palaszczuk Government committed $500 million to the Building Future Schools Fund.

The fund’s purposes centres around building new schools, securing land in Queensland’s fastest growing regions and creating the necessary jobs to accomplish the projects in place.

Image: A ‘vertical school’ in Melbourne – the emerging concept throughout Australia to deliver more educational institutions without requiring vast amounts of land. Courtesy Hayball.

“We will build the first new high school in inner Brisbane since 1963,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

“We want every child to benefit from a quality education no matter where they live. That’s why we are investing $500 million over five years to help deliver world class education facilities where they are needed most,” she said.

Ms Palaszczuk said through the Fund, the Advancing Inner City Schools initiative will:

  • deliver a new state secondary school at the former Fortitude Valley State School site in partnership with Queensland University of Technology
  • establish a new high school in the inner-south working with the University of Queensland to take enrolment pressure off Brisbane State High School
  • support the expansion of West End State School to meet enrolment demand

The Palaszczuk Government also claimed to have plans already underway for new state high schools in other growth areas across Queensland including Mt Low in Townsville, North Lakes/Mango Hill north of Brisbane, Calliope near Gladstone and Yarrabilba in South Logan.

Deputy Premier, Minister for Infrastructure and Planning and Member for South Brisbane Jackie Trad said over the last 50 years, Brisbane used all available land to expand existing school sites, but she said you can only expand so much.

This article was originally published by The Urban Developer.

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LIVstyle’s Astor Set To Launch In Sydney ‘Hotspot’ Rosebery.

The Urban Developer

Rosebery is a suburb in transition, just 6km south of the Sydney CBD, well connected to public transport and ripe for redevelopment.

Many of the old industrial buildings and commercial warehouses are being demolished and replaced by attractive-looking apartment complexes. The latest of these is Astor by LIVstyle, a boutique developer who has achieved great success with its other Rosebery projects, Verde and The Parker Residences.

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Astor is within 600 metres of the entrance to the Eastern Distributor which provides direct links to the CBD, the Eastern Suburbs and the North Shore. Green Square Railway Station is within walking distance, and Sydney Airport is just a few minutes’ drive away.

Aaron Tippett, a Director of LIVstyle, regards Rosebery as a “social and cultural hotbed” undergoing extensive urban renewal.

At 105 apartments Astor is our largest project to date, which stems from our confidence in the growing popularity of Rosebery. With Darlinghurst and Surry Hills virtually moribund through road closures and parking hassles, Rosebery has the potential to offer a similar cosmopolitan lifestyle but with less congestion and at a much more affordable price.”

Astor comprises two seven level buildings, sited 23 metres apart, with a large central courtyard that will be landscaped with mature trees and have an outdoor kitchen for social gatherings, custom-designed seating, and areas for private relaxation.

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Environa Studio has designed both buildings to be visually complementary, with vertical green walls and slots in the façade to create visible entry points. The 105 apartments at Astor range from one-bedroom to three-bedroom options, and include penthouses with large rooftop terraces and garden units that provide a natural connection to the outdoors.

“Most things you want are within walking distance, including restaurants, theatres, boutiques, galleries, and shopping facilities. Those who buy here will appreciate the benefits even more in years to come as Sydney becomes more crowded and properties close to the CBD grow out of the financial reach of most.”

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WOHA and Architectus reimagine the Queenslander as riverfront tower.

Architecture AU

A new riverfront luxury apartment tower on the edge of Brisbane’s city centre designed by Architectus and WOHA has been submitted for approval by developer CBUS Property.

The $375 million tower has been designed to imitate the local vernacular of the Queenslander, rather than the sealed glass-walled towers of a more internationalist style. The project team has touted it as the first truly sub-tropical living environment of an urban scale in Brisbane (although some might argue that honour belongs to the 1961 Torbreck building by Job & Froud, two kilometres away on Highgate Hill).

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“The Queenslander – with its stilts and natural ventilation – was an inspiration for the tower,” said Elizabeth Watson-Brown, director of Architectus.

The development has been designed to maximize permeability within and around the site. The podium levels, which are designed to match the height of the adjacent Customs House, will be open to pedestrian traffic. It will essentially stand on urban-sized stilts, allowing a podium-level public domain that connects the city with the river.

The development introduces two new avenues to access City Reach Boardwalk along the riverfront. A proposed landscaped public plaza at Queen Street will take pedestrians to the river via a set of stairs. A proposed lane, Parkside Lane, will likewise connect to the water and will be activated with retail and cafe venues. The existing Howard Lane will also be reinvigorated and the existing Fig Tree Walk will be enhanced with hanging gardens and landscaping to frame views to the river.

The 47-storey tower will include 264 apartments, arranged in a cluster formation in plan, designed to maximize views and natural ventilation.

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The Fawkner Makes Strong Debut

The Urban Developer 10 September 2015.

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Melbourne’s new $300 million development The Fawkner has already sold more than half its offerings in the last three months with interest predominantly by owner occupiers.

The 253-apartment development, designed by architecture and design studio KPDO, is positioned on the site of the former Fawkner Centre building overlooking Fawkner Park.

The Fawkner will feature upon completion a 24-hour concierge and  resident-only facilities including a porte-cochere entrance into the lobby, timber lined wine room with 96 wine cellars, private movie theatre, infinity swimming pool, gymnasium, sauna and steam room, play spaces for children, private dining areas and communal meeting spaces.

The ground floor will be extensively re-landscaped to create a garden enclave, while more gardens will be created on the podium level, all designed by OCULUS Landscape Architecture.

Construction of the development is scheduled to commence in late 2015 and scheduled for completion by early 2017.

Read the full article here.