"I want to build a fantastical building" the architect said. "It will span 2000m in width, long and thin, like a needle on its side, and it will have door only at one end!"
Needless to say, a fire safety engineer stepped in at this point, and pointed out the glaringly obvious safety issue with this
"But people construct buildings like this all the time!" replied the architect. "Ok, they put them the other way up and call them skyscrapers, but it's the same concept".
Which is the issue i would like to address.
The problem of limited building ground space, and the increasing demand for more interior spaces has plauged architects for years. the solution: multistory construction, high rises, skyscrapers.
However, this now lends us the problem of evacuation in the case of an emergency.
For some high rises, in the instance of a normal fire, over, say, 3 floors the building can burn for days, and the fire will stay contained and the building remain standing. Clearly, in these cases, there is ample time to evacuate those inside.
However, many buildings are not so well constructed. an obvious example here is the WTC, which would, it appears, have collapsed even if it had been subject to just a normal fire over a single floor, irrespective of the aeroplane.
Clearly there is not enough time to evacuate fully buildings of this type.
What do we do? knock them down and rebuild them better?
Or, install some new evacuation method. Lifts don't work in a fire. stairs are good, but they take a long time. And what if you have mobility problems. No good at all.
I would now like to tell you a story about the sky diver who jumped out of a plane and several 1000ft an whose parachute failed. Hurteling towards the ground at however many miles and hour, he knew he was a gonner. Miraculously, he landed on such an incline, that, he simply rolled down the side and off the bottom, unscathed.
This works in a similar way to death slides that you find at kids adventure playgrounds. They're the ones that go straight down, and then curve slighty at the bottom, breaking the fall of the child.
Why not attach death slides to the outside of tall buildings, providing an efficient, disabled-friendly exit in an emergency