Arup joined public arts events charity Artichoke and American ‘burn artist’ David Best to mark the anniversary of the Great Fire of London.
The finale of the week long London’s Burning festival saw a 120 metre-long wooden replica of the 1666 city skyline being set alight on the Thames in a re-enactment of the Great Fire on Sunday 4th September.
Arup was commissioned by Artichoke to provide fire and environmental advice for the project. The key challenge for the fire engineering team was to enable a highly controlled, prolonged and visually spectacular fire for Londoners to enjoy safely. The team carried out fire safety assessments, conducted testing and provided consultancy prior to the event to inform the management of risk to spectators, property and the environment.
The lessons from the Great Fire of London are still as relevant to engineers, architects and city planners as ever before. The Great Fire raged for four days leaving much of the City destroyed and thousands made homeless. It marked a step-change in fire safety, leading to new building regulations such as The London Building Act of 1667 which were, for the first time, enforced by surveyors.
Even 350 years on, the impact of the Great Fire is still being felt in our approach to planning for and dealing with fire in the built environment. As we push the boundaries of architectural design and use innovative materials and modern methods of construction for environmental reasons, a total fire engineering approach where fire risk is considered from project inception to operation, is more important than ever. We are immensely proud to contribute to the commemoration of an event that shaped London as we know it today.
- Dr Barbara Lane, Arup Fellow and Global Fire Leader