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Redstone Architects and Redstone Public Safety Consulting Group serves the law enforcment, public safety and justice communities with architectural and consulting services.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
People critical of a proposed, new public building often use a common cliché: “It looks like the Taj Mahal.” Supporters of the new building should consider taking this as a compliment to the community’s Building Committee and architect who designed the facility. Why?
Because in today’s economic climate, every new project in every community is designed with full awareness of the economic situation we are just coming out of. No elected official wants to be accused with supporting a facility that the community cannot afford, such as a “Taj Mahal.” Building Committees strive to build what a department or agency really needs to operate safely and securely, at the best value for their community.
The design process helps assure a cost effective solution. Space Needs Assessments are based on current and future needs. There are no more “wants” left in assessments. Today it is the norm to review operations with the departments involved to find more efficient ways to do things, and to use less space. Design layouts are models of efficiency. Materials and building systems are chosen for their cost effectiveness over the 50-100 year life of the building. Brick is not marble, but it is durable. Brick has been used for thousands of years as a basic building material.
Public Buildings reflect their community, so it is important that every public building leaves a positive impression every citizen will be proud of as they use it or just drive by. Public buildings can be attractive without being extravagant, even when using basic building materials.
So what is the real Taj Mahal?
· It is the “crowning jewel” of Indo-Islamic architecture.
· It was finished in 1632 after 20 years of construction and using 20,000 laborers.
· It was built as a tomb for the wife of the Indian ruler Shah Jahan out of his love for her.
· Only the finest materials and the most immaculate Makrana marble were used.
· The Taj Mahal vaunts the ruler’s grandeur and munificence
· Adding to the beauty of the Taj Mahal is the extraordinary delicacy of the floral motifs that embellish the marble surface.
· Everywhere there is jasper and several other rare and costly stones, presented in a hundred different ways, mixed together and set in the marble that covers the wall. Even the black and white marble floor tiles are decorated in like manner, with unimaginable delicacy and taste
· It is a tourist attraction that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to it each year
So, to answer the skeptic who has just said: “It looks like the Taj Mahal,” thank them for the compliment, and tell them how are proud you are of the client-architect team that worked together to create a great value for the community. Tell them that this building will be efficient, durable and long-lasting, and will serve our children and grandchildren well - long after we are gone.
Monday, January 16, 2012
When developing the design for a Public Safety Facility, particular attention must be focused on creating efficient workflows, as well as the creation of staff spaces that encourage interaction through face-time. These spaces offer the opportunity for members of the department to have direct communication with one another, as opposed to texting, email, or even an occasional phone conversation. We refer to these spaces as collaborative spaces.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
The main design objective in designing the Evidence Processing and Evidence Storage area is to develop a logical work flow that properly secures, processes, and stores evidence in a way that maintains the “Chain of Evidence,” a prerequisite for a successful use of the evidence used in the judicial process.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
· Floor, walls and ceiling to be of security-rated materials and abuse-resistant finishes. Remote-flush drains are recommended.
· Light fixtures, air registers, and plumbing fixtures to be of a prison-type with tamper-proof fasteners.
Friday, June 24, 2011
The Public Lobby
Public Lobbies of Police Buildings must accommodate a number of interactions between the police department and the public. Some departments utilize sworn officers to staff the Front Desk; others use civilians, either stand-alone, or as a part of the Records Counter Function. The following is a list of functions that might occur and spaces that might be needed in a typical Police Building Lobby:
- Make a Report on a Property Crime
- Make a Report on a Persons Crime
- Obtain a Record
- Pay a Traffic Fine (if done at the Department)
- Arrive for an Appointment
- Administration visitor
- Speak with an Officer in the Lobby
- Participating in a Community Policing Meeting
- Participating in a Community Meeting
- Prisoner Release
- Property Release
- Family/Friends waiting area
- Display area
- Rest Rooms
- Place of Refuge
- Vending Machines, Telephone
- Video Feed for Video Arraignments
- Obtain a gun permit
- Have fingerprints taken
Each of these actions or spaces need to be discussed in order to determine how best to serve the public in the new facility. One way to begin an analysis is to have the staff at the Front Desk keep a daily log of the visitors for a long enough period of time to determine actual use, and then project those uses appropriately for an anticipated, future demand.
If the Lobby is not open 24 hours a day, there needs to be an emergency phone located adjacent to or in the Lobby Vestibule, which may be open even if the Lobby itself is closed.
Lobby security Issues will be covered in a subsequent blog.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Each jurisdiction will determine its own level of security requirements, which in turn will influence building security decisions. When looking at a prospective site for a law enforcement or public safety building, there are a number of security related issues that must be addressed. Here are a few of them.
Can the building be set back from the street sufficiently to minimize an impact from bomb blast? Current DOJ standards call for a minimum of a 50’ setback from the street to sensitive public buildings. In a dense, urban area this may not be possible due to the limited availability of property, or if your project is a to renovate a building that has an existing, limited setback.
Buildings can be protected from being run into by explosive carrying vehicles with the proper placement of bollards, and by including in the site design swales that will stop a vehicle. Swales can be a part of the building’s sustainable design features. Utility lines and air intakes should be protected from accidents or deliberate attacks that would endanger the building’s occupants.
Day-lighting is important to the interior environment, but it may also expose officers to risk from the outside. Where daylight is desired, consider placing windows high enough so that there are no direct site lines into the building from street level. This will minimize the chance of injury if shots are fired into the building from the street.
Two means of ingress and egress to the site are critical to the ongoing operations of the department. With only one drive in and out for staff, all it takes Is one disabled vehicle to block a department’s entire operations.
Official vehicles and public parking should not be mixed. Official vehicles, and often officers’ civilian cars, need to be securely separated from access by the public. The Sally Port needs to be in a secure area, away from street visibility if possible.