Crisis Architecture

Crisis Architecture incorporates tactical, technological and architectural strategies to increase survivability of potential victims from mass shooter events. Importantly, crisis architecture is also designed to preserve a building’s function and aesthetics without surrendering to the austere, jarring look of securitized architecture.

Questions: How does the design of our buildings unwittingly help killers trap their victims? Instead, what construction changes can we employ so that buildings save lives?

Crisis Architecture


Original Air Date:

June 24, 2021


Keynote Speaker:

Dr. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross



Jason Fritz
Holly Stone

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Matt Morgan: Welcome. Welcome everyone to our second installment of PROTO-TALKS. I'm your host, Matt Morgan. I'm the president of Protogetic, the protective design industry's first digital marketplace. Before we start, I am very proud to thank and recognize our sponsor Norshield Security. Norshield is a manufacturer of leading security products, and we are very grateful for their generosity [00:00:30] and professionalism, so thank you Norshield. I hope you enjoy today's hour long discussion regarding an incredibly important topic, and so timely right now in what's going on is, it's crisis architecture. How the design of buildings impacts mass shooting events and how we can improve built environments to protect and save lives.
Before we begin also, if you have [00:01:00] questions, please put them down in the chat section. We'll try to get to them during the Q&A, provided that we have time for it. Now let me introduce today's keynote speaker, Dr. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a scholar and author, who is the founder and chief executive officer of Valens Global. Valens Global has twice been named one of the best entrepreneurial companies [00:01:30] of the year by Entrepreneur Magazine two years in a row. The International Herald Tribune has also called Daveed a rising star in the counter terrorism community, and so he is a very qualified speaker. He held previous positions with the US Department of Homeland Security, Google's tech incubator, Jigsaw and Georgetown University. Dr. Gartenstein-Ross is the creator of crisis architecture and has spent six [00:02:00] years developing the foundational principles supporting this groundbreaking work. Daveed, welcome to PROTO-TALKS, it's great to have you back.
Daveed Gartenst...: Thank you, Matt. It's an honor to be here and it's an honor to have this platform to discuss crisis architecture. I approach this topic from several different perspectives. One perspective I have on it is that of the parent. When my eldest daughter had [00:02:30] her first active shooter drill, she was in kindergarten. She told me about it when she came home that day, she explained to me what her teacher had told her. She said her class had practiced a lockdown in case animals escaped from the zoo, in case a bear or a lion tried to enter her classroom. She explained that the kids had practiced sheltering in place in a bathroom that would lock so that if an elephant came and stared into the room, it couldn't [00:03:00] see the kids. As I said, she was a kindergartner, and experience sadly tells us that such drills at this age are not in the unnecessary precaution.
And for parents, there are few you mass shootings as horrifying as that of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, which occurred in December, 2012. With that attack, as I'm [00:03:30] sure we all recall, teachers efforts to protect their students were futile, in large part due to the building itself. The teachers couldn't even lock the doors to their own classrooms, their doors would only lock from the outside. Someone would've had to walk down the hall and lock the doors one by one. The shooter in that attack who was targeting elementary school kids, moved [00:04:00] too quickly for of that to happen. He took the lives of 26 students and teachers, 23 of them in the nearly indefensible classrooms.
This brings me to the second perspective that I bring to bear on this topic, that of an analyst. My professional focus prior to founding Valens Global was studying the strategies and tactics of terrorist groups. As the problems [00:04:30] of mass shootings deepened, I was struck by the similarities between these attacks and the terrorist attacks that I knew too well. And make no mistake, the problem of mass shootings has in fact grown worse. It's striking to compare current figures for mass shootings with those the US experienced two decades ago. In 2017 and 2018, just before the pandemic, over 800 [00:05:00] people died in mass shootings compared to just 37 in 1997 and 1998, two decades before. As our economies have reopened following the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen these kinds of tragedies begin to strike again. So what did I come to understand looking at mass shootings from an analyst's perspective? I came to understand that the Sandy Hook tragedy [00:05:30] bears an unfortunate resemblance to other mass shootings. The physical layout of the school did not help those who were trying to escape, it impeded them, it impeded them, it helped their attacker.
Let's zoom out now from Sandy Hook to look at mass shootings as a whole. Here's one important thing all of these shootings have in common, they tend to end quickly. Looking at America's five deadliest indoor [00:06:00] mass shootings which claimed over 150 lives, the average time between an attacker entering the structure and the final bullet being fired was just nine minutes and 48 seconds. One person died every 19 seconds. When lives are taken from us so quickly, a fast reaction is vital, police response and individual heroics won't do the trick. What we completely [00:06:30] forget is the physical space itself. Think of Sandy Hook's doors that wouldn't lock from inside, it was a missed chance to save lives. Similar missed chances can be found too frequently. If we changed how we think about our architecture, we can save lives.
I call this approach, which I've been researching and developing for the past six years, crisis architecture. It incorporates [00:07:00] tactical, psychological and technological measures. We should make crisis architecture a part of the conversation. Importantly, crisis architecture is designed to preserve a building's function and aesthetics. Securitized architecture can be jarring, it can be foreboding. If you think of high schools with barbed wire fences and metal detectors at every entrance, [00:07:30] at some point they don't look like schools at all, they look like fortresses or prisons. Crisis architecture is an all church to buildings overloaded with security features. This kind of architecture is meant to look natural. It's meant to allow buildings to be beautiful, yet it's also designed to use the physical layout to save lives should disaster strike.
So is addressing [00:08:00] social problems through architecture a new or novel approach? The answer is not at all. Architecture has been used this way for centuries. Take a look at European landmarks, in the pre-medieval era the threat of rating parties led to the development of primitive hill forts. When the Middle Ages arrived, barons facing warfare and rebellions built castles. [00:08:30] Perhaps the best known modern architectural paradigm designed to address social challenges is the widely adopted crime prevention through environmental design, which is meant to harness the built environment to reduce fear and reduce criminal activity.
After the 9/11 attacks, one of our responses to terrorism was architectural. In the immediate wake of the attacks, many cities, [00:09:00] including Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles put in place ad hoc defensive measures, including erecting concrete barriers that had the jarring look of securitized architecture. These eyesores were also found to be ineffective. Concrete barriers that aren't secured into pavement can't stop moving vehicles, such flaws gave rise to a new design based paradigm called external area defense. [00:09:30] At its best external area defense can secure buildings in public spaces while maintaining their appeal.
A great example of how beautiful architecture can quietly address a security concern is the Arsenal Football Club's Emirates Stadium, which opened in London in 2006. The Drayton Park entrance boasts large sculpted letters spelling out Arsenal. On one side is a bridge that can hold soccer fans, on the other side, [00:10:00] a public road. These large letters are beautiful, they can also stop a car from ramming the team's fans. The problem with external area defense, it doesn't work once an attacker has passed into a target building. And as we know, that has happened in too many tragic cases. But if you overload schools [00:10:30] or places of worship with security features, isn't that across purposes with their very function?
There's reason for hope, through crisis architecture principles the places we care about can maintain the beautiful appearance we demand of architecture, they can also save and protect lives. I want to outline six of the core principles of crisis architecture, though This isn't the entire set of concepts that define this architectural [00:11:00] paradigm, they show how the built environment can increase survivability in an attack. Though any one of these principles is good in and of itself, what these principles illustrate is how crisis architecture's various paradigms can strengthen one of another.
First, enable creation of distance. Structures should allow people to rapidly move from one area to another, which is critical [00:11:30] in the first moments of an attack. There should be numerous connecting hallways between parts of a building and multiple staircases between floors which produces short transit times. An example of this principle is the Pentagon, it's the world's largest office building. So how long does it take to walk between any two places in the Pentagon? On average, only seven minutes. This is because it has numerous internal corridors and stairways, [00:12:00] creation of distance allows potential victims to quickly flee.
Why is this important? Let's look at the attack in Orlando's Pulse Nightclub on June 12th, 2016. At 2:02 AM, an attacker entered and began shooting, patrons were trapped. By the time the incident was over one in three people in the club had been killed or wounded, 49 lives [00:12:30] were lost. But 60 or 70 people escaped toward the beginning when a bouncer moved through the gun fire to open a locked side door. This act, which saved lives, would not have been necessary if Pulse's design enabled more rapid creation of distance.
The second principle is multiple exits. In April, 2007, a disgruntled senior [00:13:00] at Virginia Tech went on a shooting rampage, he murdered 32 people. The body count would have been worse if not for the heroics of this man, Liviu Librescu. When the shooter tried to enter Dr. Librescu's classroom in Norris Hall, the 75 year old Librescu held the door closed. He yelled for his students to escape. In doing so he bought them vital time. Almost all the students in [00:13:30] his class managed to escape through the window. Finally though, bullets ripped through the door. They took Dr. Librescu's life and the life of one of his students. Escape from the classroom could have been easier and faster. How can we do better? Buildings should have more exits. This includes not only standard exits, but non-standard ones, pop out windows, emergency rope ladders for upper stories.
[00:14:00] The third principle of crisis architecture is incorporate angles. In the six minutes of the infamous high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the gunman killed 17 people and wounded another 17 all without leaving the main hallway of the school. He never entered a classroom because he didn't need to. From the main hallway, he could see and engage every victim due [00:14:30] to the visibility he had into the classrooms. How can we do better? Long, straight halls where people have no place to avoid being seen are dangerous in an attack, so are rooms where most of the floor area can be seen from the door. Angles can limit a shooter's line of sight. Halls with turns and visually appealing barriers can reduce the number of targets that a shooter has.
Speaking [00:15:00] of barriers, this brings us to our fourth principle, provide adequate cover and concealment. Cover can stop bullets, concealment can stop a person from being seen. During a December, 2015 attack in San Bernardino, at least one victim was hit by bullets passing through non-resisted walls. A second was hit when bullets ripped through a non-ballistic glass door. How can we do better? For cover [00:15:30] designers can use hardened structural features and design elements similar to the Arsenal letters that you met earlier. They can use walls built of bullet resistant materials or ballistic doors and windows. Large plants or furnishings can provide concealment. Another idea for concealment, smoke emitters. They could be triggered by gunshot or a person pressing an alarm. This is already in place in some American schools.
Fifth, [00:16:00] enable rapid hardening. Recall that most casualties are inflicted in a short period of time, a design that allows rapid hardening can alleviate this. Features that can rapidly harden a structure include push button deadbolts, window coverings that drop when an alarm is triggered and internal ballistic doors that can be electronically closed. Rapid hardening allows a building to maintain its form and its function until hardening [00:16:30] becomes necessary. Rapid hardening can also increase the efficacy of the sixth principle I want to introduce, that training and design need to be mutually supporting.
When people receive attack response training, such as at schools, the training and architecture needs to support one another. For example, if an organization's active shooter protocol is to shelter in place, the spaces where they are supposed to do so [00:17:00] must be built to withstand attempted entry. The doors should have secure locks that can be activated from inside rooms and the walls should be able to stop bullets. Sandy Hook underscores the need for training and design to be mutually supportive. Teachers there had actually trained on lockdown procedures. In fact, the window in the door leading to one of the rooms where numerous [00:17:30] casualties were inflicted was still covered by dark paper from a lockdown drill. Teachers there executed the lockdown procedures that they had learned, but their efforts weren't supported by the building design. As I said, somebody would've had to walk down the hall and lock the doors from the outside. If the school had had, for example, a system where a single button could be pushed that dropped a window covering, [00:18:00] and deadbolted the door, the lockdown procedures there would've been much more effective.
The principles of crisis architecture can make a difference. Here's why I think they're important to talk about, right now advocacy about addressing the threat of mass shootings tends to focus on the most contentious policy debates. That's not wrong, but it's not the [00:18:30] full picture. At worst, this dynamic can bring about a paralysis where too little is done before these wrenching debates are resolved. Let's focus also on the physical spaces where attacks occur. The idea of crisis architecture of realizing that the physical layout of our buildings and public spaces could help to protect us should resonate across partisan and ideological lines. [00:19:00] Crisis architecture should resonate at the local level in the communities that face the threat of these tragedies striking. Mass shootings are a scourge on our society, they have robbed us of too many loved ones. We can find part of the answer in our architecture and we can work [00:19:30] to save lives now. Thank you.
Matt Morgan: Ah, thank you, Daveed. That was incredibly valuable information. And I know our panel would love to weigh in, and so we're going to get started on that right away. Without any delay, let me introduce Holly Stone, principal engineer and founder of Stone Security Engineering. Holly has more than 30 years experience in the protective design industry. And [00:20:00] alongside her is Mr. Jason Fritz, a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University's Center for Advanced Governmental Studies, as well as a contributing editor at War on the Rocks.
Welcome everyone, today's panel is going to be a little bit more of a free form discussion rather than me interrogating you with questions and so on. So let me step aside, but before I do, let me just tell everyone, again, you can go ahead and put your questions [00:20:30] into the chat section and we'll try to get to them, as well as we're going to be sending out a questionnaire that we think is really important for the future of PROTO-TALKS, making sure we can get the subjects and topics that you find most interesting. So with that said, Holly, Jason, Daveed, let's hear from you. Holly.
Holly Stone: Yeah. So first Daveed, thank you so much. My career has centered around how to [00:21:00] protect people through how we design our buildings or how we respond to emergencies, and I had never quite pinpointed why I'm not seeing a lot of ballistic resistant design, especially in the private sector. And I think your point was excellent, that our approach has not been on protecting against the events, it's rather been trying to politically make comments [00:21:30] and come to decisions on how to make them not happen. And I think that by really focusing on this, we can really, again, expand the number of buildings, expand the number of locations that get ballistic resistance, or get designed in order to prevent these mass type shootings. So from my perspective, I really appreciate that, that makes a lot of sense to me.
Daveed Gartenst...: [00:22:00] Thank you, Holly. And I know Jason's going to weigh in as well, but I wanted to first address the first question in our Q&A, which is, with schools, what prevents students from locking doors if the teacher leaves the room? That's a wonderful question, though I feel that it's actually relatively easily dealt with. Because the issue isn't so much whether... Obviously the answer is, the teacher will have a key, right? Locked doors can open with keys. The fact [00:22:30] that the teacher has a key will generally mean that the teacher can get in, the attacker won't similarly enjoy a key. And to be very clear, locked doors are not the end all be all. Lock doors can be... The lock can be shot out, for example. This is why you tend to multi layer security.
But I feel that for this one, obviously concerns like this, like a teacher being locked out, are one of the things that are in place for schools and some of the hesitations they have. [00:23:00] Similarly, if you incorporate multiple angles, then you suddenly have angles where students can do something that is inappropriate behind an angle and be out of the visibility of an authority figure. But at least as it comes to locking doors, I think there you have a relatively easy way to deal with it by just making sure that teachers have the means to get back in. Jason.
Jason Fritz: Yeah, thanks. And also, thanks to Protogetic for having me on this distinguished panel. [00:23:30] I think Holly's point is exactly right on Daveed's broader points that this is a massive gap in the policy space about how do we address this from a non-confrontational perspective at the policy level? Until about January 14th of this year I lived in downtown DC, and after January 6th, one block down from my old apartment the National Guard set up a massive gated checkpoint. [00:24:00] I'm not too sure what it was designed to do, where it was preventing people from getting to. I still lived about a mile from the Mall. And it created this fortress mentality of DC, which I guess, fine since I was living in the city, because it was like, "Okay, it's time to go."
But there's a flip side to this, I don't want to call it the fortress mentality, if we think about it from a criminological perspective, target hardening played a major [00:24:30] role in decreasing crimes across the United States, particularly breaking and entering, those types of things, and part of that was that would be burglars knew that buildings were hardened. And so I think, in addition to making sure that their beautiful, there's an element of not necessarily projecting how targets are hardened or the architecture is crisis adapted, but that it actually is to make it less of a target and maybe they'll move on to something else.
Daveed Gartenst...: [00:25:00] I think that's an excellent point. And I know that in advance of the presentation, Holly sent you and I, Jason, some really incisive thoughts about crisis architecture and its implementation. And I'd love it, Holly, if you could share some of those with the attendees, I don't want to steal your thunder, but I thought that you provided that were just dead on accurate.
Holly Stone: Thanks. Yeah, and again, [00:25:30] right now we're in a situation where there are new threats, and when I say new, newer, and newer to the concept of public buildings, of private structures protecting against them. I like to think of this as a, new threats, no code, especially in the private sector, because anybody who attempts to harden their building [00:26:00] or protect against it, they're going way beyond code and should be applauded right off the bat for doing that. They may not be able to do everything they want, but just the fact that they are trying to do it is really important. And that creates a paradigm shift, as you said, and I think of that from the design and from the architect's perspective. So a lot of the projects I've worked on, the architects worked very hard to create this feeling of open space, to [00:26:30] create long hallways that give you vistas to the outside or create a community feeling, almost like a main street within a building.
And they need to find ways to create those feelings without actually creating these long hallways that now will become straight on access for shooting somebody, or even if there's a vehicle incursion, straight on access for [00:27:00] somebody to get into the heart of your building. So I think that it's going to be an issue for full design teams, the owner's representatives, the owner's stakeholders, the architects, the engineers, HVAC, everybody working together to figure out new ways to create the feelings that people want in their buildings. So I think this is definitely food for thought for a lot of our industry.
Daveed Gartenst...: Definitely. And your [00:27:30] observation there, I think feeds in well with the very first of the questions in our Q&A currently, from Daniel [Landreneau 00:27:40], where he asks, "Any design advice for manufacturers creating ballistic solutions for open air spaces and critical infrastructure protection?" And I'm going to speak to the first of these open air spaces, because critical infrastructure protection is just going to vary so widely depending upon the kind of critical infrastructure we're looking to protect. [00:28:00] But for open air spaces, I think that it is entirely achievable to put in place crisis architecture principles while actually having an open air space. In fact, it was an open air space that first really energized my thinking of this topic, which was right out there in California. I did a tour of Universal Studios shortly after the terrorist attacks occurred, and I saw the ad hoc measures that they put in place [00:28:30] which were really kind of thwarting the accessibility that they wanted. And there were some simple ways to fix that, which I talked to their security team about at the time.
But here's what I would say my advice is. It's first of all, hardened design elements in the open air space. An example of that is the Arsenal letters that you saw before, where it looks very natural, but the Arsenal [00:29:00] letters could stop a car, they could also stop a bullet. Similarly plant fixtures, statues, there are multiple things that can provide both concealment and also cover. But the key thing here is not just to have some hardened design elements, but the key thing is to tie them together tactically to a terminal outcome.
One of the mistakes that I see come up when people put in place security elements is that oftentimes a security [00:29:30] element is put into a building, but it's not tied to a terminal outcome from the perspective of a potential victim. Generally speaking, when you have an attack situation there are three kinds of terminal outcomes that you want. There's fight, there's flight, and there's shelter in place. And so to me it's hardened design elements with some sort of tactical principles tying it together. Incidentally, one principle which I left out but that fundamentally relates to Daniel's question, is [00:30:00] implementing human centered design principles. When you're in the heat of the moment, when there's an attacker, you have a high amount of adrenaline and a minimum amount of rational thought. And human center design concepts can help, for someone trying to escape, it can help everything that is in place out them to seem a little bit more intuitive and to basically psychologically nudge them toward one of those terminal outcomes.
Holly Stone: [00:30:30] I absolutely agree with that. And I love that you said even statues, because there's a lot of these iconic buildings that are being built, there's new plazas, there's new parks, and a lot of them include the requirement for art in architecture, so having beautiful things that are commissioned from artists who potentially wouldn't have commissions otherwise, so giving back to the community. And I think, absolutely there are a lot of things that could be done to use those to not only be [00:31:00] beautiful and to elevate the space, but that can also protect people as required.
Jason Fritz: I think there might also be an additional challenge in this for, I guess, for lack of a better term, for transient spaces. If you're an organization, like let's say a company that doesn't have outside customers coming on board, then you can train your personnel on how that architecture is designed to protect those employees. But when you're in [00:31:30] transient spaces like, I mean, an amusement park's a great example, movie theaters, or even universities or co-working spaces where maybe people, they're kind of familiar with the environment, but they don't actually own that environment per se, and how they understand how that architecture will protect them, right? How do they know that that planter is the one that they can get behind and it will protect them? Beauty is important obviously, and I imagine that comes down to ensuring the staff are trained in how to [00:32:00] manage a broader public other than just the employees of the organization.
Daveed Gartenst...: Yeah, and that's actually a good transition also to the other question that we have in the Q&A from Jamie [Farrell 00:32:14], which says, "How do you balance the advantages you consider within crisis architecture, in terms of providing shelter or cover for potential victims, against those same measures providing potential advantages for aggressors in evading or counter attacking first responders?" So I think that [00:32:30] the point that Jamie brings up is always an issue for any security features. All security features are to some extent a double edged sword. One example that I often give relates to the Mumbai urban warfare attacks that we saw back in 2008. And during those attacks one of the hotels that was attacked had barred windows. Now, barred windows can be good to stop somebody from getting in and trying to attack [00:33:00] or to steal something, but they trap potential victims in when those victims would like to escape from the windows.
In this case, though, even though I think there's always a double edge sword with respect to security, I think it's very clear that on average crisis architecture will help victims far more than it will help aggressors. And here's the reason why I say that, if you think of any of these structures that were attacked, there's always at least a place [00:33:30] where you can find cover or concealment. When you have one attacker or a small number, two attackers, there's always going to be some place that they can perch to get a tactical advantage. And crisis architecture is about dispersing the advantage, and so helping the mass of people, as opposed to a single person who can find that tactical advantage. That's the reason why I think it's less of a concern in this instance, because even though it is in fact, a double edged sword, I think the double [00:34:00] sword is going to exist in literally any space. And when you average it out over the range of victims, in addition to the attacker, generally speaking crisis architecture is going to provide far more safety than it does advantage to the attacker.
Matt Morgan: Yeah, and as we talk about the broad base of crisis architecture, let me just throw in a question or two of my own. Holly, [00:34:30] from your experience, what type of door would you recommend for optimal protection during a mass shooting event?
Holly Stone: Well, optimal, it would absolutely be a ballistic resistant door placed in a ballistic resistant wall. It's a system, you can't just, well, you can, but it is not as effective to just have one thing that is providing protection, you need a full system, you need a full circle [00:35:00] from where the people can attack you. So yeah, absolutely ballistic resistant doors. And if you're building a new building, you can also incorporate, instead of having something that is an afterthought, you can create concrete walls that have the ballistic resistance. You can have standard stud walls with drywall, but incorporated in that you can have a ballistic [00:35:30] resistant material.
So I think ideally, that's the way you want to go. If you can't do that, if you have an existing location, you don't have the budget for something, one of the things that Daveed had talked about was how quickly these things happen. And I have in my head a big image of an attacker shooting through a tempered glass door. [00:36:00] And tempered glass breaks into these little tiny cubes and there's, sorry, geeky, surface tension, and the minute you release the surface tension it just explodes. Everything goes, and there's absolutely nothing to impede somebody from walking through and continuing on.
There's things that we do for blast resistance, which is anti-shatter, blast resistant film. And if you put that on a tempered glass window or door and attach it either with [00:36:30] a sealant or something mechanical, they can shoot through it, the glass will all fracture, it doesn't stop it from breaking, but there won't be a passage. So you can do something that's fairly inexpensive either as you're fix or as an interim fix as you work through trying to get a more complete system designed. So there's a lot of things that can be done but it all takes thought, it all takes coordination, and looking at the [00:37:00] timing of it is always really important, as I'm sure Daveed would agree.
Daveed Gartenst...: Definitely. And I think I'll transition to answer the questions that we have here, because we have two questions that are extraordinarily similar, from Daniel Landreneau, and Dana [Palmeroy 00:37:17], both of them asking about the same shooting attack. So Daniel asks, "Can you give an example of how crisis architecture could have impacted an event like the Mandalay Bay Shooting? You have a temporary open air venue without the necessary resources, [00:37:30] what could have been done in hindsight to protect shelter in place capabilities?" And for Dana it's, "Do you see a possible increase in mass shootings in outdoor event settings that are open air, similar to the LV concert shooting? Are there any portable solutions to obscure the shooter's line of sight where architecture doesn't exist?"
The first thing I want to state is, I think it's important not to... For me, as a designer of crisis architecture, it's important not [00:38:00] to portray it as a panacea for all things. In putting it together in the first instance, I focused very much on indoor as opposed to outdoor shootings. So when I talked about how quickly shootings end, the deadliest mass shooting in US history was the Las Vegas shooting. I didn't count that in the shootings that I was looking at, because I think there's a difference between indoor and outdoor shootings.
Now, I think there are some things that could be done. Dana's comment [00:38:30] talks about portable solutions, you can put up portable solutions similar to what we were talking about before from plants to statues or other installations, that could be a part of it. But for me, even though that would be helpful for outdoor venues, the fact is that for indoor venues that should be much more defensible, we just aren't doing our job right now. These indoor structures are not as securitized [00:39:00] in this way as they should be. And so to me, I'm much more focused on how we can deal with indoor venues.
[inaudible 00:39:09] for outdoor ones, temporary installations, there are... The other thing I'll throw in for outdoor ones that makes it a little bit complex and can problematize looking at crisis architecture as a panacea is that you also don't really know what the shooter's angle will be, right? In Las Vegas, the angle [00:39:30] was from a hotel a long way away. There are probably at least a dozen other angles that the shooter could have used, and trying to anticipate all of them and provide directional security, it's a complex undertaking. It's not impossible, but to me, a focus on low hanging fruit makes sense, even though I think there are solutions to the outdoor venue shooting problem.
Jason Fritz: [00:40:00] If I could add one thing on the outdoor shooting. Yeah, I completely agree with Daveed, I don't see that as an... There's not much architecturally that you can do there, but there probably are some technologies that could help, like gunshot sensors. I was an army officer, we used to have them called boomerangs. And if it heard a gunshot it would automatically slew a firearm onto where that gunshot came from. I don't think concerts should do that per se, but maybe have a series of them with lasers attached that [00:40:30] could potentially blind a shooter from seeing the target area.
Holly Stone: Let me ask a question of Daveed and Jason. So Daveed, in your presentation you talked about the smoke emitters, and it almost seems like from an outdoor perspective you might be able to implement something that could take many angles and just create a line of site issue with that. I know there's must be some challenges with it, but what do [00:41:00] you guys think about that?
Daveed Gartenst...: Yeah, I mean, I think that's very true that that actually provides probably a good 80% solution. Because if you have smoke that... And you could even have them trigger at such an angle that they're really providing cover from, or rather concealment from above. And some sort of shelter in place location that people would flee to, that would be a very elegant [00:41:30] way of dealing with that issue, I love it.
Holly Stone: Yeah, the smoke emitters, we've been talking about that type of thing in our company for quite a bit, and it was really great to see that you have seen them implemented.
Daveed Gartenst...: Yeah, and that actually ties in with the next question that we have from Dierdra who asks, "How practical are these security be features to implement in terms of dollars and cents? How costly to implement a school already constructed, would a city be willing to put out for these safety measures?" [00:42:00] Which is a great question. I think that, this is where we get into to an observation that Holly had made in advance of this presentation, which is that we don't want to scare people off by talking about the synergies between multiple principles. Having a few crisis architecture principles in place will be really good from a security perspective, even if you don't have all of the principles in place.
So when I'm looking at it, an incorporation of [00:42:30] some principles into initial design of a building, the cost is extremely low, it's a question of design. The more difficult question is what Dierdra's finger is on, which is a school already constructed or a building already constructed where you're looking at retrofit. From work that we have done, I think that there's always a high end, medium and low end solution. I think in fact, [00:43:00] looking at it right now, it's very clear that schools across the board and other buildings are retrofiting, So it's clear that there is something that they will spring for, for retrofit.
The area where I would say crisis architecture intersects with that, is that oftentimes my critique of retrofits that we see is the lack of connection to overarching principles. This is where I talked about before, how you need to have a linkage to some sort of terminal outcome, [00:43:30] and it has to be thought through tactically. A security feature in and of itself if it's not linked to a terminal outcome might have some benefit, but its benefit is going to be significantly limited. So to me, what I'm advocating for is not so much that we need new spending, rather I take it as a given that spending is occurring in this category because we can see that spending occurring. And so to me it's more, that if we're going to spend the money, here's a way that we can make sense of it, and here's a way that we can maximize survivability.
Matt Morgan: [00:44:00] Yep. Okay, and let me just kind of jump in, and this is a question that I would, Daveed, for you, and Holly, Jason, for all, is, when we're talking about retrofits or where we're talking about designs, do any of you have any go-to materials that you're using or that you're working with to provide security, provide protection, but also provide [00:44:30] an aesthetic in terms of that? I suppose this is more maybe directed a little bit more at you, Holly, but [00:44:37].
Holly Stone: Well, I love concrete and steel, so. But yeah, no, I think it all can be beautiful. It can be, and this is a concept that when the General Services Administration for the federal government, when they start implementing security [00:45:00] and they also have something called design excellence, how to marry the two. And one of the things that they talked about was invisible design, and Daveed, your example of the Arsenal sign is perfect. And how to multipurpose things. So again, if you want to have a stud wall, you have weight issues, thickness issues, or it's just a cost factor in your area, you can use other things that are incorporated into it, but [00:45:30] you don't see.
So laminated glass, I talked about attaching film, but lamination of glass is when you break it, it also sticks together. And you can use laminated glass and it's also multipurpose, so it helps with acoustics, it helps with heat and cold and it also helps with, there's some codes that are required if you have glass within 18 inches [00:46:00] of a floor or a door, it has to be either laminated or tempered. So you can do multiple things with one particular material. But wood structures can be retrofitted or they can be created, I would probably suggest starting with a different material that sort of gives a little more inherent protection. But yeah, I think anything can be incorporated into a building, it's a matter of locality, cost [00:46:30] and the other things that you need it to do, and then you can vary prudently select materials.
Matt Morgan: Right, right. Right. And then in terms of the options, I mean, we do talk about protecting people on the basis of being able to lock a security door, being able to shelter in place in a locked room. But in lieu of that, if that is not an option [00:47:00] or part of a budget, because those things are fairly expensive, you also have other options that can slow people down or slow the shooter down and buy people a little bit more time to escape. Can you touch on that a little bit in terms of what options, if you're not on a big budget, what options can help slow the shooter [00:47:30] down and give people time to escape?
Holly Stone: Daveed, do you want to start that one, and then...
Daveed Gartenst...: Sure. The go-to that I have would be a combination of three different things. The first one is smoke emitters that you localize. You don't have to have smoke over the whole place, but you could have it where the shooter is to obscure the shooter's line of sight. Number two, drop down barriers, such as like a grate or just a fence. [00:48:00] It doesn't cost nothing, but having a dropdown fence isn't that expensive, because even if the fence isn't a bulletproof fence, it'll still slow the shooter down. There's a lot to to figure out how to get beyond the fence. Then the third thing which works pretty well synergistically with the smoke emitter is something that will pop up from the ground, similar to like... [00:48:30] I mean, don't take the analogy too far, because obviously we understand inside a building a shooter won't be on a car, but something similar to like tire spikes that you'll have, something that provides a floor based barrier. These are things that can slow a shooter down if your terminal outcome is escape as opposed to shelter in place.
Matt Morgan: Right, okay. All right. Okay, thank you [crosstalk 00:49:00]-
Holly Stone: Can I throw [00:49:00] something in quickly?
Matt Morgan: Yeah, of course. Go ahead.
Holly Stone: Sorry, I didn't mean to jump in. So one of the things that I find really interesting is the concept of we're hardening for one thing, but what are we doing to the other things that we're protecting against? What are we doing to the more typical threats? So I think, Daveed, you mentioned burglary, in schools there's always the concern about interactions between different peoples, students and teachers, [00:49:30] and that observation is always really important for that.
The other thing that I think is really important is that a lot of these things that we do when we're actually talking about hardening, when we're not talking about changing locks, we're not talking about smoke emitters, when we're actually going to harden, we're going to put in ballistic resistant doors and windows, or we're going to put and apply material for ballistic resistance, we have to make sure that the first responders in the area know what they're expecting, [00:50:00] because if there's a fire, which is probably a higher probability event, we want them to be able to do their job quickly and safely and get people out like the terminal outcome like Daveed was saying, we want to make sure they can get out. And going through a ballistic resistant door versus going through a standard classroom door are two totally different ball games.
And we came across this with blast resistant windows, which the government was putting [00:50:30] around all the country, because they had a permitting process, all of the jurisdictions didn't necessarily know what they were coming up against. So we worked with the GSA and the Department of Homeland Security to come up with a program to just inform people. So I think having a multidisciplinary team when you start talking about this, I think is really important because there's things I would not think about that really have to be taken into account, and there's things [00:51:00] I would think about that potentially others wouldn't take into account as well. So I think it's that team effort that's really important to make a really good protection project.
Matt Morgan: Okay, and we have another question here that I'll throw out to everyone also from Dana Palmeroy, "Please address how drop downs work with fire life safety? Suggesting products like Won-Door or something like that." Does anybody want to take that?
Holly Stone: [00:51:30] I'm looking up Won-Door now.
Daveed Gartenst...: What did you say, Holly?
Holly Stone: I'm looking up Won-Door now.
Daveed Gartenst...: I'm familiar with Won-Door. I'm not familiar enough to suggest it as a product. The only thing I'll say is that, to me, drop downs are pretty neutral with respect to fire safety, [00:52:00] in the sense that generally speaking a dropdown is just not going to be deployed. It's only deployed in certain instances, so I see them as, to some extent, non-intersecting problem sets. I do think that Dana's point is getting to that it can actually perhaps enhance fire safety, but there I'm not familiar enough with the product to put it in an endorsement though. Anytime you're able to solve more than one concern through a feature, it's [00:52:30] going to have much more value.
Matt Morgan: Okay. All right. All right, I'm going to call that a wrap. This has really been great, and let's conclude today's panel. On behalf of and our sponsor Norshield, we'd like to thank Dr. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Holly Stone, and Mr. Jason Fritz for your time. [00:53:00] It's been a truly informative hour. Please comment, and send us any information or questions that you'd like at And please fill out that survey as well. Thank you everyone, and we will see you next time at our next PROTO-TALKS.
Holly Stone: Thank you guys very much.