Ar C.J. Walsh – Consultant Architect, Fire Engineer & Technical Controller – International Expert on Sustainability Implementation + Accessibility-for-All + Fire Safety for All + Sustainable Fire Engineering
2020-03-24: Established relatively recently, in 2015 … the Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens are located in Tramore, County Waterford, in the south-east of Ireland. Who Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) was, his Irish heritage, his historical links with Japan, and the layout of the Irish Gardens … can all be found at: http://lafcadiohearngardens.com/
Some special Sights & Sounds from a Visit to the Japanese Gardens on 13 March 2020 …
2015-02-02: This is NOT … I repeat NOT … a small niche market in the Global Multi-Billion Euro Fire Safety & Protection Related Construction Industrial Sector ! This IS the whole nine yards !!
This is an Open Call for Innovative, Well-Designed Fire Safety / Protection and Accessibility Related Construction Products and Systems, Other Measures and Means, Mechanical and Electronic Devices, ETC, ETC, ETC, ETC !
This Call is particularly aimed at Manufacturers, Suppliers and Distributors in China, India, Japan, and Mainland Europe !
We want to see ‘Real’ Products and Systems, Measures and Means, Mechanical and Electronic Devices, ETC, ETC, ETC, ETC … not flashy brochures … at the 2015 Dublin ‘Fire Safety for All’ Industrial Exhibition, on 9 & 10 April !
An Accessible Building is Safer, Easier to Use and More Comfortable for ALL Building Users
If Fire Safety for All is properly considered at Building Design Stage :
• Buildings are easier to understand (intuitive) during a Real Fire Evacuation
• Fire Evacuation Routes (obvious) are easier to find and to use
• Everyone can safely evacuate a Building on Fire – no more tragic tales about people being left behind in multi-storey schools and offices
• Reality – Reliability – Redundancy – are the 3 Essential Keywords
Client Organizations: A Building which is NOT Accessible is difficult, if not impossible, for everybody to evacuate during a real fire incident !
Grab a Bicycle – Get a Horse – Take a Train or a Plane – Come to Dublin in April !
2014-11-11:Traditional Building Construction Practices have a meaning and value within the Heritage of every Living Culture …
‘ We consider that in the face of mounting challenges such as population growth, urbanization, environmental degradation, disasters, climate change, increasing inequalities and persisting poverty, there is an urgent need for new approaches, to be defined and measured in a way which accounts for the broader picture of human progress and which emphasize harmony among peoples and between humans and nature, equity, dignity, social wellbeing and sustainability.’
Preamble, UNESCO 2013 Hangzhou Declaration
‘ We reaffirm that heritage should be considered to be a fundamental enabler of sustainability, being a source of meaning and energy, a wellspring of creativity and innovation, and a resource to address challenges and find appropriate solutions. The extraordinary power of heritage to foster and enable truly sustainable development is especially evident when a person-centred and place-based approach is integrated into development programmes and peace-building initiatives.’
Preamble, UNESCO 2013 Hangzhou Declaration
” We recognize that one size does not fit all and that different cultural perspectives will result in different paths to development. At the same time, we embrace an understanding of heritage that is open, evolving and strongly framed within a rights-based approach and the respect for diversity, the free access to which enables all individuals ‘to live and be what they choose’, thus enhancing their opportunities and human capabilities while promoting mutual understanding and exchange among peoples.”
2014-09-01: Continuing on from where I left off on this topic …
Creative Architecture In Context is not a revolutionary concept … not even a new concept … it is an ancient concept … practiced long, long before the pompous Architect of the 19th Century was born … and even before he was a gleam of excitement in his father’s eye !
The Kinkaku-ji Temple … also known as The Golden Pavilion … is a Buddhist Temple in the north-west of central Kyoto City, Japan. Very briefly … this building was commissioned in 1394 by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1408), Japan’s 3rd Shogun, and completed in 1397. In accordance with his final wishes, it was transformed into a Zen Temple of the Rinzai School in 1419.
The Temple is a simple, elegant building … but, it exists in a specific setting … a landscape of Zen-style gardens, and a large pond which reflects the building. The pond (Kyoko-chi) was there before the Temple was built.
The landscaping around the building is a fine example of Muromachi-period (14th-16th Centuries) garden design … considered a classical age in Japan … where the relationship between a building and its setting was greatly emphasized … in a precise artistic way, fully integrating the structure within the landscape … resulting in a dynamic, harmonious balance between building and nature.
In this example … the word ‘Architecture’, on its own, is entirely inadequate to describe the symbiotic relationship between this building and its setting/context. Prefixes, such as ‘eco-‘ or ‘bio-‘ or ‘whatever-‘ before ‘Architecture’ … are also far too weak to communicate either the meaning or the importance of this relationship.
A Radically New Term is Necessary …
Its setting … nature, landscape, plants and animals, etc … must be considered at the earliest stages of a building’s design … with the aim of achieving, in the completed construction, a dynamic and harmonious balance between the two.
This is not how Architecture is taught today in the schools … or practiced by professionals, who are constrained by conventional and overly restrictive boundaries … and cannot or do not, therefore, look beyond their own buildings.
This must change !
And of course … the concept of Creative Architecture In Context must be re-interpreted and implemented in a manner which is suitably adapted to the 21st Century … but that is a story for another day !!
2013-03-09: You may have heard about IT, but you didn’t believe any part of the story. BUT, here IT is … up close and personal !
Not just a toilet, or a WC … and not just any old toilet unit … this is ‘THE’ Toilet Unit … the ‘all-singing all-dancing wonder of the world’ ! Found throughout Japan … in locations which are private (e.g. residences and hotel rooms), as well as public (e.g. bus and railway stations).
The Toilet Unit in a hotel room shown here, TOTO TCF 521R, is an older model. Units in public places can have additional functions, e.g. playing music to ‘mask’ noises made by the person on the toilet. Notice the use of graphics on the control panel, texts in two languages (Japanese and English), separate spray settings for male and female, and a facility to alter spray water pressure and pattern (uniform or oscillating/pulsating).
Afterwards, you might consider visiting the Manufacturer’s WebSite (TOTO, in Japan) … http://www.toto.co.jp/ … to examine the advanced technologies driving the development of this product.
But beware of cheap imitations which are beginning to be promoted in Europe !
And just one more interesting bathroom feature from Japan … a heated section of a much larger mirror which remains clear in hot steamy conditions …
2013-02-20:Japan … so far from Western Europe … is at a critical juncture in its history. Soon to be overshadowed by a very large neighbour, China … it is still occupied by the United States of America (a fading imperialistic entity), which is quietly insisting that it become a nuclear power in the region … a story without a happy ending !
However … ‘Real’ Japan is a complete culture shock … both interesting and fascinating at the same time.
This is a bluffer’s guide to Japanese Chopsticks … ‘HASHI‘, in Japanese …
2012-12-29: Now that the hustle and bustle of Christmas Day has passed … it is time to relax and chill out during this quiet period … the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day … to think of loved ones and friends, at home and abroad … to extend warm Christmas Greetings to our many collaborators, clients and suppliers … and to look forward to the New Year of 2013 … a time, hopefully, for Transformation and Creative Re-Organization !
At first, this Japanese Print reminds me very much of the Cherry Blossom Walk in Osaka, and each year looking forward to Spring … but it also tells a story about people …
… and then how, in a built environment which is becoming more and more complex, a diverse and healthy flora and fauna is an essential component of ‘person-centred’ design … and how, despite the wonder of electricity, it is important to remain intimately connected with the pattern of nature’s seasons, and the rhythm of day and night.
Merry Christmas – Auguri per un Luminoso 2013 – Çok Teşekkür Ediriz !
… this is how we would like to help you … whether you are an individual, or an organization … whether you are located in Ireland, Italy or Turkey … some other part of Europe, the Arab Gulf Region, India, Japan, China … or wherever !
And … we can, if requested or necessary, work in collaboration with local partners in those different geographical regions.
– FireOx International is the Fire Engineering Division of Sustainable Design International Ltd. (SDI) –
Fundamentally, the 9-11 World Trade Center Incident in New York (2001) was an Extreme ‘Real’ Fire Event. It presented the International Fire Engineering Community with a catastrophic failure in conventional practices and procedures related to:
Fire Engineering, Structural Engineering, and Architectural Design ;
Human Building Management Systems ;
Emergency Response by Firefighters, Rescue Teams, and Medical Personnel ;
National and Local Organizations Having Authority or Jurisdiction (AHJ’s) ;
… and with the serious problem of entirely inadequate Fire Safety Objectives in the building legislation, model codes and design standards of the most economically advanced countries in the world.
Those people who understand the building design process, and have experience as construction practitioners, have long realised that the lessons from 9-11 must be applied across the full spectrum of building types … not just to tall buildings. Right up to the present day, unfortunately, many people in the International Fire Engineering Community are either unwilling, or unable, to do this.
Furthermore … Fire Engineering, Architectural Design and Structural Engineering must, of urgent necessity, be seamlessly conjoined … with the aim of removing misunderstandings and the wide gaps in client service delivery between the different disciplines.
In 2002, a series of Long-Term 9-11 Survivor Health Studies commenced in the USA … and in 2005 and 2008, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued a series of Post 9-11 Critical Recommendations concerning the design, construction, management and operation of buildings.
At FireOx International … we have fully integrated this essential design guidance into our frontline fire engineering and architectural practice … we have developed unique and practical solutions for worldwide application, some of which appear in International Standard ISO 21542: ‘Building Construction – Accessibility & Usability of the Built Environment’, published in December 2011.
FireOx International’s Commitment to You
As a necessary response to the New 21st Century Paradigm of Real Extreme Event in a Built Environment which is becoming more and more complex … is subject to climate change and severe weather events … and is vulnerable to malign and malevolent disruption –
WE are committed to … the implementation of a Sustainable Human Environment which is Fire Safe and Secure for All, meaning that an ‘appropriate project-specific fire safety level’ is our fire engineering objective, with ‘human health protection’ targeted as a priority … through the use of innovative, reliability-based and person-centred sustainable design practices and procedures.
What is an ‘Appropriate Fire Safety Level’ in Your Building or Facility ?
It is rarely, if ever, explained to clients/client organizations that the Minimal Fire Safety Objectives in building legislation are focused solely on protecting the ‘interests’ of society, not those of the individual … are, quite often, inadequate and/or flawed … and are, always, revised only after the latest tragedy !
To properly protect Your Interests as a client/client organization … we strongly advise that the Appropriate Level of Fire Safety in Your Building or Facility should exceed the minimal level of safety required by building legislation. We would also caution that, in many jurisdictions (e.g. India), compliance with national building legislation is voluntary.
Which raises the issues of whether or not you will actually get what you pay for, and whether or not the Fire Protection Measures in Your Building or Facility are reliable (in other words, will they perform as intended at the time of a ‘real’ fire, which may occur at any time in a building’s long life cycle) !?! Competent Technical Control of Design and Construction, independent of the design and construction organization(s), is essential.
You should carefully consider the following spectrum of issues which may be directly relevant to Your Project. Following a process of consultation with you, we then develop Project-Specific Fire Engineering Design Objectives … bearing in mind that you must also comply with safety at work, anti-discrimination, and environmental legislation, etc … maintain business continuity, etc … be energy efficient, etc … and be socially responsible, etc …
– Protection of the Health of All Building Users … including People with Activity Limitations (2001 WHO ICF), Visitors to the building or facility who may be unfamiliar with its layout, and Contractors or Product/Service Suppliers temporarily engaged in work or business transactions on site ;
– Protection of Property from Loss or Damage … including the Building or Facility, its Contents, and Adjoining or Adjacent Properties ;
– Safety of Firefighters, Rescue Teams and Other Emergency Response Personnel ;
– Ease and Reasonable Cost of ‘Effective’ Reconstruction, Refurbishment or Repair Works after a Fire ;
– Sustainability of the Human Environment (social – built – virtual – economic) … including Fitness for Intended Use and Life Cycle Costing of fire engineering related products and systems, etc … fixed, installed or otherwise incorporated in the building or facility ;
– Protection of the Natural Environment from Harm, i.e. Adverse or Damaging Impacts.
FireOx International – Our Fire Engineering Services
WE will advise you on Fire Safety Policy, Fire Safety Strategy Development, Fire Safety Implementation … and, whether you are within or from outside the European Union, on CE Marking of Fire Protection Related Construction Products ;
WE understand the process of Design, particularly the new language of Sustainable Design … and we will produce Creative Fire Engineering Solutions for Your Project ;
WE are thoroughly familiar with the intricacies of Building Sites … and we will verify and/or validate Design Compliance during construction, and at project completion … and, if requested or necessary, as a completely Independent Technical Controller ;
WE communicate easily and effectively with other Professional Design Disciplines, including architects and structural engineers … and we will act as fully participating members of Your Project Design & Construction Team … and, if requested or necessary, as the Design Professional in Responsible Charge** ;
Are adapted to Local Geography, Climate/Climate Change, Social Need, Culture, Economy … and Severe Events (e.g. earthquakes, flooding) ;
Are ‘Reliability-Based’, i.e. that design process based on practical experience, competence and an examination of real extreme events, e.g. 2001 WTC 9-11 & 2008 Mumbai Attacks, and 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Incident … rather than theory alone ;
Are ‘Person-Centred’, i.e. that design process which places ‘real’ people at the centre of creative endeavours and gives due consideration to their responsible needs, and their health, safety, welfare and security in the Human Environment.
It is there, not here, that we define Sustainable Human & Social Development … and describe how our Practice is responding to this open, intricate, dynamic, and still evolving concept. The resulting transformation in how frontline services are provided to our Clients/Client Organizations ensures a much more comfortable ‘fit’ to their needs … and a greater level of protection, safety and security for society !
[** 2005 NIST(USA) Final Report on 9-11 World Trade Center 1 & 2 Tower Collapses
– Footnote 49 –
… the Design Professional in Responsible Charge – usually the lead architect – ensures that the (Design) Team Members use consistent design data and assumptions, co-ordinates overlapping specifications, and serves as the liaison with enforcement and review officials, and with the client or client organization. ]
2012-12-04: How two Health and Safety Issues are handled at this Construction Site in Osaka, Japan … which, I regret to say, will be of small interest within Europe, where construction-related fatalities and injuries are far too high !
1. Control of vehicular access to, and egress from, the Site. Note the hosing down of the truck’s tyres before leaving, and entering back onto the public street. On this particular day, the volume of site traffic was high.
2. High visibility identification, and insulated protection of, overhead electric wires/cables.
Even before entering the Site … these are Very Good Indicators with regard to how Health and Safety at Work, generally, is managed …