With soft targets like the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, becoming the focus of terrorist activity, as building designers, do we need to prioritise safety of occupants over other design considerations?
Public Buildings or places where people gather en mass, present conflicting design issues: Accessible and welcoming v. controlled access; interesting aesthetic features v. clean vision lines and spaces that are easy to monitor; easy to egress in event of fire or accident v. limited unmonitored access and quick to close down; cost v affordable.
In truth it would be impossible to eliminate every terrorist risk because the reality is we cannot identify the enemy within and where one "design" wall prevents abhorrent activities such at the nightclub massacre occurring, another easier target will be selected.
However, we do need to be ever mindful of adopting clever design that quietly protects without limiting freedom of movement. We need practical building solutions which fly in the face of those who wish to create carnage.
The recent mass shooting at an L.G.B.T. nightclub in Orlando, Fla., once again raises emotional questions about gun ownership, the government’s antiterrorism policies, and how to thwart an ideologically motivated, if deranged, individual from wreaking havoc in the future.