Monday, September 7, 2009

Dangerous Building Design in DC

I never imagined that new architecture design could be dangerous, but a popular firefighters' blog VentEnterSearch points this out clearly. The pictured building is a remodeled light commercial structure that currently houses Foot Locker has a fake second story.

Adding a fake facade is an old trick that allows a building to appear much more attractive, and thereby increasing foot traffic into it. But this also poses a serious challenge to firefighters in the case of the building catching on fire, since most building fires are combated by punching a vent hole in the roof first.

It makes me cringe thinking of firefighters either trying to punch through the fake windows, or climbing over the parapet wall and seeing a 10 foot drop down to the real roof.

I've never noticed it before at the corner of H and 8 street, just up the street from popular venues like The Red And The Black and Rock & Roll Hotel. I'm going to try to be more alert to safety angles of new architecture now.