I thought for a while how to address the issue and I decided of approaching it with my experience, first.
The fact , for those who read this blog from abroad, is big. A 5 year old kid died during Design Week 2016 in a fire, triggered in a University Student Pavilion composition
The picture below show the stand two days before the accident.
…when I first saw it I had immediately the feeling of danger. Professional feeling, developed during my whole life. On other pavilions this year I had the same sixth sense warning. There was womb-like pavilion, dark, and without an easy way out, very uncomfortable to be inside. Another one was
plenty of plastic balls, spinning around, nice…but safety prevention? none!
This is the object of this post.
When you are Architect, Designer, student you are interested in creating new things, smart, cool, effective, terrific, impressive…but you are not pushed to pursue safety. It is not requested to you.
This year tragedy may turn all the internet buzz and cool stuffs pictures a bit more toward the healthy process of designing safety “pavilions”. According my wife opinion, Tokyo Design Week risks to be cancelled forever.
To my knowledge, Japan is plenty of safeguard rules and warnings. There is a general good awareness of the risks, and for sure much higher than other countries, probably Italy included. Let`s think about earthquakes and tsunamis, and it is easy to see they are on regular basis been considered all along Japan history.
This situation is, despite that, not be well analyzed. TDW is a temporary exhibition, thus it has not to follow the strict rules of a real estate developer. It is easy to understand to why. In Japan a normal developer of a building has to be organized in a way that construction risks are assessed by experience and consolidate workings on site, rules a part. Usually it is a developer – one big company – that take cares of all.
In Europe is different, big developer are not the main market in the building construction. They represent a small fraction of it. A construction site, even a small one of a one family house would host at least a dozen of different sector enterprises: from the excavation land, to the roof assemblers trough plumbers, electrician, painters and so on. All are different company with different contracts. Everybody knows his own works but knows barely anything about the other. That is why it has been created the role of Safety Coordinator.]
That was my role for several years back in Italy. Somebody who can oversee and forecast the risk of the site. Also during the construction phase, which are the most dangerous, he has to be onsite on regular basis to check if everything is following the right path or not and take actions in case something is not going well.
Among his/her duties, risk assessment are the foundations of the job. I guess the TDW organization has not got any professional doing this job either because it is not request by the Japanese Law or either because they did not assessed the risk.