Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting

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Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting

  1. 1. Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting By Tyler Holdren & Ian Jackson
  2. 2. The Sandy Hook Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School took place on December 4, 2012. This event has again raised the question of how schools can become safer places for students. A majority of the attention has been on gun control, which has often caused an overlooking of other means of addressing this problem. Architecture is a lens through which this issue can be looked at, and the idea of surveillance being omnipresent in institutions through means of architecture can create more controlled spaces.
  3. 3. Castles During the medieval ages, warfare and weapons began evolving and becoming more deadly. Architecture responded to this by developing ways to help defend and create a safe place for people and their kingdom. In most situations a castle is broken up into three parts: the building itself, a moat (with or without a drawbridge), and a surrounding village or town.
  4. 4. Three concentric circles Windsor Castle, England, 11th century
  5. 5. Windsor Fundamentally, castles were based off of concentric circles of defense. The defenses attackers would come into contact with in order were the open zone/village, the thick outer wall, a surrounding moat, a thick inner wall, and lastly the main castle structure. An example of this is the Windsor Castle in the English county of Berkshire. Fitting the requirements of a typical Motte and Bailey Castle design, the Windsor Castle is placed atop a steep cliff far above the ground setting itself apart from the bank of the Thames River. Below the cliff where the castle resided was a small village. The cliffs allowed for residents of the castle to survey the land from above for potential attackers.
  6. 6. Egeskov Castle, Denmark, 16th century Moat and Drawbridge
  7. 7. Egeskov Although most castles did not have a moat, the castles that did, had an extra line of defense. Moats made the use of siege equipment difficult due to the separation of the attackers from the castle. Undermining and or digging tunnels under a fortification with a moat were very difficult if not impossible. An example of a castle with a moat is the Egeskov castle. This castle implements the concept of a moat in its design, having it completely surrounded only allowing access to the castle only through means of a drawbridge.
  8. 8. Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, 12th Century
  9. 9. Edinburgh Although a village doesn’t act as a direct defense in terms of the castle, it can be considered a zone that can be patrolled, observed and creates distance between the neighboring area and the castle’s perimeter. An example of this would be the Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. This castle is placed atop a hill overlooking its surround village (now a large city). The village itself creates a physical barrier of protection around the castle that can be guarded, patrolled, and surveyed for enemies.
  10. 10. Panopticon, N/A, 18th century
  11. 11. Panopticon The main idea of the Panopticon was to give guards the ability to observe all the inmates in prison without them knowing whether they were being observed or not. This design makes the presence of being watched all the time a constant concern of the inmates, hopefully making them a better citizen if and when they were released from prison. The building’s design consisted of a central observation post where the guard was able to view all prison cells within the structure as they were positioned in a circle around the perimeter of the institution.
  12. 12. Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania, 1829
  13. 13. Eastern State Penitentiary Similarly to the Panopticon’s central viewing tower, the Eastern State Penitentiary used a central tower to keep watch over jail cells, which extended outwards in a radial pattern from the center. Although it used this same idea it was not implemented in the best manner. Due to the fact that the cells faced away from the central viewing tower, the guards were unable to see inside the jail cells, unlike the jail cells in the proposed Panopticon where inmates were viewed twenty four seven. This meant that prisoners were still able to create weapons and communicate without being scene.
  14. 14. Yonkers Public Housing Project, New York, 1996
  15. 15. Yonkers Public Housing Project Initially, Yonkers was a segregated, high-crime area where public housing was very dense. The architect, Oscar Newman wanted to eliminate all public areas and instead assign to individual families for private use. Corridors, fire stairs, elevators, and lobbies would all be removed. Each family was assigned a front yard and rear yard that was defined by a fence. The proposed plan for these yards was that eventually families would have space immediately outside of their houses that they would identify with.
  16. 16. Clason Point Project, New York City, 1996
  17. 17. Clason Point Project In his second project, Newman attempted to again change the structure in Clason Point, located in South Bronx, New York City. Clason Point suffered from a 30 percent vacancy rate, which allowed drugs, gang violence, and prostitution to take place in these spaces. To combat this, again areas were subdivided among residents by use of fences and transforming large public spaces into smaller private spaces. The common areas between buildings where criminal activity occurred were transformed into areas where children would play after school and congregate. Benches and small gardens were also introduced into these spaces. The increased use of these common spaces by residents of the community pushed criminal activity out of the area.
  18. 18. Pruitt-Igoe, Missouri, 1996
  19. 19. Pruitt-Igoe Newman’s last project was a public housing high rise, Pruitt-Igoe, in St. Louis Missouri. Similar to the previous two cases this area was ridden with crime and vandalism. Though the density of the space was not very high, residents were elevated above eleven stories. The architect wanted the ground floor to be completely open and act as a space that was available to residents for community activities but over time the community room became dirty as glass bottles and trash littered the floor. Vandalism was spewed on the walls and the room was completely disregarded. This happened because no one felt that this collective space was his or her personal space, it was just the community space. As a result residents tended to disassociate themselves as responsible for it and the space became anonymous. This was also seen in the hallways and corridors. The rooms in the high rise were well-managed and kept clean, but the hallways remained littered. This juxtaposition was another example of how spaces that were assigned to an individual or small group of individuals stayed clean and maintained. This forced Newman once again to designate specific areas to families in an effort to force them to identify with their own space.
  20. 20. Conclusion In summation, the concepts and ideas presented by medieval castles, prisons, and residential urban housing provide a multitude of solutions to increasing the safety of schools today. Many times the media looks through a less informative lens instead of looking at what is most obvious. Looking at these architectural precedents will undoubtedly provide information for present architects on how to build in a way that keeps students safer when attending school. In the future we hope that architects are able to become more aware of this and build accordingly.

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