Passive defense in Architectural DesignHamoun Nik
In this post I want to talk about the defense and how many types it has.
Defense is one of the methods that every living being uses to eliminate potential and active threats.
Anticipating attacks is part of the defense system and I’d like to expand on it more since it is a complicated topic. Breaking it down, there are 2 major categories of Defenses: Active and Passive.
Includes all activities that we do at the time of the problem to fix and prevent more damage.
Includes all the activities that we do before any major problems occur to reduce the chance of threat, accident, and future damages. This type of defense is crucial to protect people and our assets.
To make this concept clearer, I would like to site several examples of how to define passive and active in each situation:
Example 1: Fire
For all building designs, we have to follow Fire Department codes like providing fire-rated walls and separations, and not using combustible materials in certain places that have higher chances of fire spreading. All these designs are as Passive Defense because the threat is not yet present, but you are preparing for the possibility in the future. Tap into your knowledge and experience of the city and try to reduce the damages in case of any emergency.
Now imagine the same building that we designed many years ago is on the fire. Any action to distinguish the fire and save people’s life like sending firefighters and fire engines, turning on fire hoses, and activating fire sprinklers is called Active defense.
Example 2: Earthquake
Before starting any building construction, we must make sure that the building structure has enough stability to remain safe, especially the time of an earthquake. In the other words to make sure that it satisfies all requirements on seismic design. All these efforts are active in the study and design phase, which means fighting against potential threats and future disasters – Passive defense.
When an earthquake happens, the damage can be reduced if we had a great passive defense approach in our design and programming. The defense design will provide occupants with better protection against earthquakes.
Once the event is active and emergency assistance is sent on location to help, it means we are in the stage of active defense.
Example 3: Military defense
This last example has military aspects to show you how wide the passive defense concept can be.
If you remember what happened on 9/11/2001 in America, you’ll recall an airplane crashed into the Pentagon Building which is under America’s Department of Defense. Instead of destroying the building entirely, the plane got stuck and did not cause too much damage as it could do to a low-level importance building.
This is another aspect of passive defense in architecture for military purposes, which means the Pentagon Designer thought about high-level potential threats to the building and managed structural protection layers inside the building. Thus, making it more tolerable, reducing the vulnerability against any attack and physical damage, and providing better protection to people, devices, and documents inside the building.
In conclusion, Passive defense encompasses all preventative measures and activities that are utilized before any problem occurs. This defense makes the asset and its occupants more protected and safer during the occurrence of the problem. And the best way to have it in any project is to avoid damage instead of fighting against it.