Securing buildings against terrorism needs all solutions from security experts e.g RECCE Company, sociologists to give solutions to prevent radicalization and architects to design safer buildings. Terrorism is now becoming a usual occurence worldwide and there seems to be no immediate remedy in the near future, hence need to secure oneself in advance.
There are ways that buildings can be designed to inhibit, discourage and minimalise life lost during terror attacks. Previous architectural designs usually prevent the usual type of intruder who would want to break in and steal. Currently, this type of crime is less life threatening than terrorist attacks hence need to design buildings with terror attack in mind more than in petty break-in crimes.
For malls, i have analysed design solutions here below
For Educational institutions, the windows facing the corridors can be designed to be longer as opposed to being high. This will increase visibility such that students can be aware of impending attacks. The Garissa university class room windows on the side facing the corridors were high such that the students cold not be able to see the terrorists before they entered the classrooms.
All windows in classrooms and accomodation rooms should have no grills. This will provide easy escape in times of peril eg from teror attacks or fire. This window below saved many lives. If the other windows opened easily like this one, many more lives would have been saved.
Use of window films can also help in case of grenade attacks in keeping the glass together to prevent injury.
Educational buildings should be planned without a central focal point atrium in the middle. This design where rooms surround the building with a central courtyard in the middle is what made the Westgate siege and Grarissa University attack so successful since terrorists could be able to heard the victims to the centre point and keep vigil at the entrances.
The central courtyard design forms a perfect death trap for terrorists.
From the aerial view above, most buildings have the same central enclosed courtyard design similar to Westgate mall, providing perfect scenarios for terror attacks.
In future, Kenya Government can work out redesign solutions for all Government buildings which can be easy target for attacks such as schools and hospitals. Shopping Mall developers should also ask their architects to incorporate safe design typologies in case terrorists attack.
Francis Gichuhi Kamau, Architect.