Designing for the application of anti-terrorism can be an arguable subject. Some believe that architects and cities should not conform with society threats. However, I think the idea of inclusive design, with the completion of purpose and creating an aesthetic function for the city is a more effective way of designing. There is no denying that terrorism is happening around us, it is an unfortunate and scary situation that is inevitable, why not create barriers which eliminate/minimise possible attacks. The RIBA have initiated proposals for architects and other designers to ensure correct consideration of counter-terrorism is included within their future design briefs for public access buildings and public open spaces. Ruth Reed, RIBA president comments that “The need to deliver good design that creates a sense of security without a siege of mentality” is an important design category during this current society. She also mentions how we are an inclusive society and interpreting these new requirements to our buildings eliminates, highlighting the intense security measures that surround, and can quite frankly be un-nerving (RIBA, 2010)

Cabot Circus, Bristol is an urban regeneration scheme in the heart of Bristol, that aimed to take the influence from out of town shopping centres back into the city. During the design process it was highlighted that areas of counter-terrorism need to be addressed to ensure the creation of a safer environment into the heart of the city. High risk areas were identified among the design plans and were specifically resolved. A central public space which was contained under a large glass canopy was positioned in the centre of three converging streets. To resolve this direct access anti hostile vehicle furniture was introduced onto the end of streets to become indestructible pillars that stop any vehicle access. Surrounding side streets were also re-aligned to ensure that direct lines to public spaces were in-achievable. Both of these methods minimise vehicular access, creating a safer environment. Whilst among the shopping centre all of these considerations are un-noticeable to the public eye, consumers feel within a safe environment with no obtrusive barriers and security measures. The bunker mentality can cause exclusion it can minimise access to public spaces and create fear and segregation. The question this all leads down to is why wouldn’t we design for aesthetically pleasing multi-functional uses, that are applicable for counter terrorism? It creates a better community feel amongst public spaces and also avoids vulnerability for attacks. In my mind this is undoubtedly a good design factor. It Lowers insecurity and provides an aesthetic finish among streets.


Royal Institute of British Architects (2010) Guidance on designing for counter-terroism London: RIBA


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