By Joan Goodchild
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,
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 .
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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