Posts tagged with "Fire":

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Alternative Grenfell Tower memorial design calls out those responsible

British architecture organization Architects for Social Housing (ASH) has published an alternative take on the Grenfell Tower memorial proposed by architecture studio JAA earlier this month. While JAA's proposal covered the shell of the burned-out building in slabs of black concrete, ASH's vision covers JAA's design with the names of public and private officials ostensibly responsible for the disaster. JAA's design was put forward by the architects as a conceptual exercise that had no backing from the government. As the architects said in Dezeen, the intent for such a design was to give enduring visibility to the tragedy and to encapsulate the event in public memory so that its lessons would not be forgotten. Reactions were mixed; one minister of parliament scorned it as "misery porn." The ASH proposal taps into public outrage surrounding the event. In its aftermath, many of those affected and others across the U.K. accused the local authorities and Prime Minister Theresa May of being insufficiently concerned about the wellbeing of the residents of public housing projects like Grenfell. A public inquiry into the causes of the 2017 disaster, in which 71 people died, started this summer, but no one has been held responsible.
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Glasgow School of Art “extensively damaged” again by massive blaze

For the second time in four years, Glasgow School of Art in Scotland has been devastated by fire. A huge blaze broke out at the school Friday night that has been described by local officials and onlookers  as “heartbreaking,” “devastating,” and “immense.” Images and video relayed via social media Friday night showed a towering inferno lighting up the Glasgow skyline, with embers and flaming debris raining down across the city as a thick plume of smoke filled the night sky. An adjacent nightclub also caught fire and was extensively damaged by the blaze. Ultimately, over 120 firefighters were deployed to the scene amid fears that the fire would spread to further structures. There were reports that responders were unable to enter the school to fight the blaze from within for fear of structural collapse as the fire reached temperatures exceeding 1000 degrees Celsius, or over 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures nearly hot enough to melt steel. The building’s structural stone columns were extensively damaged in the previous fire in efforts to save the building. By morning, the Grade-A listed structure could be seen gutted against the morning sun, with stone pillars and destroyed timber framing among the only remaining elements of the iconic, pioneering Arts and Crafts-style structure designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1896. Alan Dunlop, professor of architecture at te Glasgow School told The Guardian, “The building does look as though from the inside it’s been totally gutted. All that seems to remain is the stone walls.” Neil Baxter, a Scottish architectural historian, made a statement to the press Saturday morning saying, “For the city of Glasgow, this is a tragedy. There is no other building in the city as important as this. It is of importance to the world.” Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, called the fire “heartbreaking” in a statement adding that the latest fire had been “much, much worse than the one that took hold of the Mackintosh building four years ago – so the damage is severe and extensive.” According to The Guardian, the 2014 blaze was caused when flammable gases from a foam canister used for a student project were accidentally ignited and eventually spread throughout the structure through old ventilation ducts. Work on the restoration of elements destroyed by the fire—which included the school’s fabled library—was well under way as the latest blaze broke out. It appears those efforts have been in vain and that the renovated sections have suffered a total loss. Reports indicate that a new sprinkler and fire containment system designed to prevent further fires was in the process of being installed as the restoration pushed toward a late 2018 completion. AN will continue to provide updates on the situation in Glasgow as more information becomes available.
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It’s Getting Hot in Here: The Latest in Fire Safety Tech

Two pretty cool things happened this month in the world of fire safety. Both products are suitable for commercial and residential use and require little effort when being added to existing spaces. The Plumis Automist Smartscan can be easily retrofitted in just a few hours, as it connects to the buildings existing water supply using flexible low-pressure hoses. The sprinkler uses a sensor to constantly monitor the room and detect a change in the rooms temperature. If a hot-spot is detected the sprinkler will pop-out and spray a fine mist directly at the targeted area which results in less damage while also saving water (about 90 percent). The system is not quite available for purchase, but has been undergoing extensive testing in both the U.S. and the U.K. The Tarkett Safe-T first system uses photoluminescent technology to clearly mark exit paths in event of fire or power outage. The systems is compliant with International Building Code and uses no electricity, in case back up systems are not available. The light comes from the use of non-toxic inorganic strontium aluminate crystals that absorb light source energy. The product is highly durable which makes it perfect for high-traffic areas.
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Learn about the benefits of building with wood and earn Continuing Education Units including AIA/CES HSW and GBCI CE hour(s) for LEED Credential Maintenance. Innovative new technologies and building systems have enabled longer wood spans, taller walls and higher buildings, and continue to expand the possibilities for wood use in construction. Visit to view all CEUs.
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Mackintosh’s World Renowned Glasgow School of Art Destroyed by Fire

The Glasgow School of Art—considered Charles Rennie Mackintosh's masterwork—has caught fire, and early reports indicate that a large section of the building has been destroyed. Considered a "total work of art," Mackintosh fused arts and crafts elements with a robust, almost industrial structure, which, in many ways, presaged the development of modernism. Steven Holl Architects recently completed an addition to the building, which AN just reviewed. Holl and design partner Chris McVoy released the following statements. "It is unbelievably tragic for architecture and the history of architecture. This is an unimaginably sad and deeply spiritual loss. We are thankful that all the students are safe. The loss to their future education is devastating," Holl wrote. McVoy added: "One of the most spiritual corners of this world has been devastated. We are so sorry especially for all the community of the School. Heartfelt wishes for resilience." According to the Guardian, firefighters are assessing the damage. Apparently the entire West Wing of the building has been lost. The GSA's Board Chair Muriel Gray released the following statement:
Today is a really black one for the GSA, but I cannot thank the fire brigade enough for the speed with which they came and their commitment to contain and extinguish the fire. Fortunately there have been no fatalities or injuries. I am so proud of the staff and students and how everyone has pulled together. We are thankful to all the Glaswegians who turned up to comfort students and to friends from across the world for their messages of support.
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Designer Pleads No Contest To Manslaughter In Los Angeles

In a case being watched closely by architects, German designer Gerhard Becker last week pleaded no contest to a charge of involuntary manslaughter for his "disregard for public safety and building codes" in the construction of a Hollywood Hills mansion whose ceiling collapsed in a 2011 fire, killing one fireman. The home had been slated to host Germany's "Next Top Model" television series. Becker faced up to four years in jail, but the plea—facilitated by the judge's worries that some of the blame should go to the building inspector—means he will face only six months in prison. "There are serious issues of proof for responsibility of the loss of life,” said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry, according to the LA Times. While local firefighters are rightfully angry with Becker, local architects are upset that Becker has been referred to as an architect at all. Becker is not licensed in California. "It underscores the importance of hiring architects as opposed to 'designers'," said Will Wright, Director of Government and Public Affairs at AIA/LA.
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Oscar Niemeyer’s Latin American Memorial Consumed by Flames

While Americans trampled over each-other for the latest consumer electronics, flames tore through the late Oscar Neimeyer’s landmark Latin America Memorial complex (1987) in São Paulo, Brazil on Friday. Inaugurated in 1989, the complex was built to promote the social, cultural, political and economic integration of Latin America. Eighty-eight firefighters were reportedly dispatched to contain the blaze that consumed portions of the 909,000 square foot complex for up to five hours. According to a spokesperson for the memorial, the blaze originated from a short circuit in the 1,600-seat Simon Bolivar auditorium, which is said to house Neimeyer’s original plans for the building. None of the building’s employees were injured, though 25 firefighters were hospitalized for smoke inhalation, two of which remained in critical condition on Saturday. While local media reported that up to 90 percent of the building’s interior was destroyed as the fire consumed chairs, melted metal, cracked walls, and shattered glass panes, it is unclear to what extent the complex’s cultural collections were harmed. According to João Batista de Anrdade, CEO of the Latin American Memorial Foundation, an extensive cleanup of the complex was performed a few months ago, in which much of the foundations cultural and historical collection was removed. Foundation employees have been waiting for the structure to be confirmed safe before returning to assess the damage to the historic building and its collections. Whatever the damage may be, state officials have confirmed that demolition is not an option. “We will ensure the most prompt restoration of the auditorium,” Secretary of State for Culture, Marcelo Mattos Araujo told Brazilian media.
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Painted Fire Hydrants on Display Throughout Chicago

Chicago area artists age 12 to 87 have painted larger-than-life fire hydrants for a public art project on display throughout the city until November 11. The project, called the Great Chicago Fire Hydrants, aims to decorate 101 five-foot-tall fire hydrants (one for each Chicago firehouse) before November 11, when a public auction of the hydrants will raise money to benefit the 100 Club of Chicago and “other fire-related charities.” Find the hydrants on this map. Most are downtown, but Mt. Greenwood’s Funkie Fashions, Gordon Tech High School, and Swedish Covenant Hospital are among the neighborhood spots. Check out the website's gallery of completed fire hydrants if you can’t hoof it to all the locations. And if you'd like to decorate one, reach out here to the organizers here.
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Slow Boil

The 2012 Olympic Cauldron by Thomas Heatherwick. (Courtesy Thomas Heatherwick) The designers at New York-based Atopia Innovation, must have been stewing over the past year. Although the gag order imposed on all participating architects and designers by London’s Olympic Organizing Committee (a.k.a. LOCOG) was lifted in January, Atopia only stepped forward in late June to say that the Olympic Cauldron designed by Thomas Heatherwick and used in the 2012 opening ceremonies seems to have been directly inspired by studies Atopia delivered to LOCOG between 2006 and 2008. Check out the sketchbook that seems to prove the point at (Photo: Courtesy Thomas Heatherwick)

Massive Fire Engulfs 34-Story Dubai Condo Tower

Early Saturday morning, a 34-story residential tower in Dubai burst into flames running its entire height. The 160-unit Tamweel Tower, located in a complex of towers known as the Jumeirah Lakes Towers, caught fire at 2:30a.m. local time, sending hundreds of residents into the streets to seek refuge in a nearby park. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but The National reported that some believe the fire may have started near the roof and propelled down the tower by the building's flammable cladding material, a similar phenomenon as what happened to Rem Koolhaas' CCTV tower in China a few years ago when fireworks sparked a major blaze on the under-construction tower and the nearby 40-story Al Tayer Tower that caught fire earlier this year. Metal panels comprising the Tamweel Tower's facade are thought to have included a flammable thermoplastic core, making the entire building a towering inferno waiting to happen. "The cladding acted as a fuel and this resulted in the damage we have seen," Sandy Dweik, a building consultant, told The National. You can see pieces of the cladding material on fire flying off the tower in the videos above, setting smaller fires on neighboring balconies. An investigation has begun to determine the official cause of the fire. Fortunately, police said there are no reported casualties and some of the displaced residents have been allowed back in to retrieve personal belongings.
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Corb’s Unité d’Habitation Damaged By Fire

The Guardian is reporting that one of Le Corbusier's most famous works, the Unité d'Habitation in Marseille, France, has been damaged in a fire. Three apartments were gutted and many other units were damaged by the fire, which took 12 hours to contain. Five people were being treated for injuries. Originally built as low-income housing between 1947 and 1951, the Unité is now a protected landmark in France and home to approximately 1600 residents in 334 apartments.
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Slideshow> Organic Architecture Catches Fire in Coachella Valley

Southern California critic Alan Hess tells us more about Ken Kellogg’s GG’s Island Restaurant (formerly the Chart House), which was ravaged by fire on Tuesday morning. The extent of the damage and the potential for repair have not yet been determined. Palm Springs may be best known for sleek steel and glass Modern architecture, but the 1978 Chart House by San Diego architect Ken Kellogg (one of a series he designed for the restaurant chain) makes it impossible to ignore the fact that Organic Modernism is just as much a part of the Coachella Valley heritage. Set along Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage, Chart House's low-slung, serpentine shape hugs the contours of a small, rocky butte. Outside, it's the image of protective desert shelter: the taut vaulted roof stretches down, like the fabric of an umbrella or the shell of a crab, almost to touch the landscape berms rising to meet it. Inside, however, the heavy timber columns, curving glu-lam roof ribs, and rubble stone walls wind their way through the restaurant like a well-designed forest. They create layers of space, naturally lighted by a skylight curving along the spine, with an appealing complexity. Kellogg's fifty-five year career, including residences, churches, and commercial and institutional buildings, continues to show the vitality of organic design. [Photo credits: Keith Daly / Flickr, Michael Smith / Flickr, Desert Sun screenshot, KESQ screenshot.]