Security and Building Design: What Changed in This Decade

Security and Building Design: What Changed in This Decade
Security and Building Design: What Changed in This Decade 

By Joan Goodchild
Senior Editor
December 30, 2009 

As we head into 2010, within the design and construction industry, the 
two hot concerns when it comes to building design are security and 
environmental sustainability. What a difference a decade makes, 
according to author and architect Barbara A. Nadel, FAIA, who 
specializes in building security, planning, and design.

Nadel, who heads up the firm Barbara Nadel Architect, in New York City, 
remembers when security and green design were mainly an afterthought. 
But that has all changed in a post-9/11 world.

Nadel, who also served as editor-in-chief of Building Security: Handbook 
for Architectural Planning and Design, spoke with CSO about how building 
architecture has evolved tremendously in the last decade, and why 
security is now a paramount concern before ground is even broken.

CSO: How did you first become interested in security with regard to 
building design and architecture?

Barbara Nadel: I formed my architectural firm in 1992. Before that, I 
had been working mainly in healthcare and institutional design. During 
the 90's, there was need for healthcare planning in the prison system 
and through that, I got into correctional facility planning and design. 
I've been very active with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 
for many years. I was 2001 AIA National vice president, during the 
events of 9/11. After 9/11, I realized there was no single security 
resource for the design and construction industry, especially for 
architects, engineers, facility managers, consultants, and building 
owners seeking guidance on security design in the post-9/11 world. 
Terrorism and crime had been around for a long time, but after 9/11, 
things changed.

With that in mind, I put together a group of national experts in various 
fields, and wrote Building Security: Handbook for Architectural Planning 
and Design [1].

The book has been read around the world and has done very well. Had 
people in the security and design industries been seeking this kind of 
security and design knowledge for a while? Or was it really the concerns 
of a post-9/11 world that prompted the popularity of the book?

There were several benchmark events before 9/11, impacting U.S. 
facilities at home and abroad. Most of them occurred at government-owned 

The 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, was the 
first incident of a truck bomb used to destroy a building. In 1996, the 
destruction of the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, involved the 
truck bombing of a U.S. military installation. The 1998 bombings of the 
U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya underscored the need to provide 
secure facilities for Foreign Service personnel serving overseas.



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