Security with Street Smarts
Manhattan is taking security design into the streets.
By Alex Ulam
Rogers Marvel Architects
The frontlines in the war on terror are highly visible in urban centers throughout
the country; streetscapes are becoming militarized with grimy concrete barriers,
checkpoints, and machine-gun-toting police officers. Not only is the new paraphernalia
an eyesore, but it is also consuming significant amounts of public space.
However, New York City, which undoubtedly remains one of the most appealing
targets in the world for terrorists, is actually beginning to look less frightening
thanks to security-oriented streetscape projects in two of its most distinctive
neighborhoods: Battery Park City and the Financial District. In addition to
making security barriers more aesthetically pleasing, Rogers Marvel Architects,
PLLC, the lead architecture firm for both projects, developed strategies to
literally stop terrorists in their tracks.
Making urban streetscapes secure against terrorists wasn’t an issue for designers
prior to 9/11. The architects at Rogers Marvel educated themselves by studying
military standards, says Graeme Waitzkin, a principal in New York-based Rock
Twelve Security Architecture, a new Rogers Marvel spin-off that specializes
in designing architectural elements for streetscape security. Says Waitzkin,
“There wasn’t really a precedent for how to incorporate security and urban
Instead of deploying the standard off-the-shelf barriers that are being used
throughout the country, many of which were not designed to stop terrorists,
Rogers Marvel is custom designing security barriers that can also function
as street furniture, sculptural objects, and traditional landscape elements.
These objects are not only multipurpose, but they also consume significantly
less space than the generic bollards, gigantic planters, and jersey barriers
(rectangular cement slabs used for separating lanes of traffic) that were
formerly crowding the sidewalks. “What we want to do is put an invisible hand
into the security envelope,” says Jonathan Marvel, principal with Rogers Marvel.
…To read the entire article, subscribe to LAM!
| Annual Meeting
Product Profiles & Directory