The Government has been using architects to redesign British cities to combat terror
The Government has been using architects to redesign British cities and buildings to create bollards and barriers that can block terrorists who want to use trucks or bombs to kill.
Anti-terror barriers have been secretly built into public spaces in London, Bristol, Manchester and other UK cities to withstand heavy impacts – like a seven-tonne truck driven at 50mph.
The work has been carried out with little public knowledge over the past several years.
And, the Home Office has been working alongside the Royal Institute of British Architects, the police and engineers – often without the public noticing.
MI5 and its partners are busy implementing even more counter terrorism efforts once again, weeks after the Westminster terror attacker Khalid Massood, 52, killed five innocent people.
The Muslim convert caused mayhem when he used an SUV to mow down innocent pedestrians walking along Westminster bridge before heading to parliament to stab a policeman.
These are a few of the counter terror measures installed in buildings in the UK
His victims included: Andreea Cristea, 31, Leslie Rhodes, 75, Kurt Cochran, 54, and Aysha Frade, 44. His fifth victim, Pc Keith Palmer was laid to rest on April 10.
But in a fight back, architects are protecting “crowded places” like transport hubs, sports stadiums, pubs clubs and bars along with areas like shopping centres and busy high streets.
These areas are all deemed vulnerable “public spaces” by the Home Office prompting architects to work alongside over 250 different “counter terrorism security advisers” across the UK ” to assess the risk to a building or site before they design.
Westminster terror attacker Khalid Masood, 52, killed five innocent people
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This was the truck used in the Stockholm terror attack
Architects have carefully designed “hostile vehicle mitigation measures” to block trucks and cars with potential bombs.
Stand off distance (the distance between a bomb and the building) is also being taken into consideration. It means the designers are trying to limit how close a vehicle can get to pedestrians.
Architects have installed bollards, plazas, and even green spaces to limit the impact of a bomb blast on a building.
The ideal stand-off (distance) is 30 metres for a small car and more distance for a lorry.
Even glazed or glass buildings are being designed to minimise the impact of shards that fall on people in the event of a bomb blast – as this can be fatal.
Architects have worked out ways to design glazing that retains the glass fragments after the glass cracks. This is being done with PVB laminated glass inner leaf in the glazing system.
In places like Cabot Circus shopping Centre in Bristol, architects used anti-hostile vehicle street furniture to limit access by “hostile vehicles.”
There, engineers measured “the velocity and mass of of an impacting vehicle against the level of penetration of the load carrying part of the vehicle security barrier.”
Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium has giant letters that spell out the club’s names making a big shield
And, even Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium where giant letters spell out the club’s names are a massive shield to protect football fans.
If a Westminster-style truck attack unfolded there, the letters are designed to absorb the impact of the collision. It has world-class vehicle bomb security built into its design.
Even the implementation of vegetation is playing a part in counter terrorism, because it gives people a clear view of an area where they can act quickly if an incident kicks off.
These types of barriers are being used in an emergency outside Windsor Castle
Chicanes – artificial features creating extra turns in a road and on streets to slow traffic for safety are also being put in place to stop attacks.
Local authorities now work with the Home Office to include Counter terrorist strategies in their regional and local building planning designs.
The Government has advised that as “the level of risk varies, counter-terrorism protective security measures should be proportionate to the risk of terrorist attack to which the building or place is exposed.”
- Westminster Bridge on lockdown following attack
- Heavily armed police patrol Westminster following attack
- PC Keith Palmer funeral procession leaves Westminster
Cabot Circus shopping Centre in Bristol, architects used anti-hostile vehicle street furniture
Whitehall, meanwhile, where the UK’s government ministries are, has secret barriers built in
Whitehall, meanwhile, where the UK’s government ministries are, has secret barriers built into the architecture. It appears to be a place for pedestrians but it would stop a lorry attack.
MI5 began looking at ways to create more security in British buildings in the wake of the London bombings on 7 July 2005.
The issue has been pushed back to the top of the agenda since the Westminster attacks this year.
Ruth Reed, the former president of the Royal British Institute for Architects said: “Architects and other designers are now being urged to take into consideration counter-terrorism measures when designing public spaces.”
This is even more relevant, once again, after a 39-year-old Uzbek man, allegedly hijacked a beer truck and crashed it into a department store full of busy shoppers in Stockholm, killing four people and injuring 15.
Architects from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is at the forefront of the redesign
The attack in Stockholm mirrored the bloodshed seen in Nice on Bastille Day when 86 were killed, and Berlin last year, when a truck rammed pedestrians.
Ms Reed added: “It is important that our built environment continues to reflect that we are an open and inclusive society and that in interpreting these new requirements our buildings do not convey that we are driven by security measures.”