What’s the first thing we learn about evacuating tall buildings? Use the stairs, not the elevators, right? But in the post-Sept. 11th era, engineers, government regulators and skyscraper safety experts have reevaluated that conventional wisdom.
The internal structure of many new buildings also better protect evacuation routes. For those who have watched tall buildings rise since Sept. 11, many will notice that this thick concrete core goes up first. Nicole Dosso, director in the technical group at SOM, said, “There was a real concerted effort to make sure that all the infrastructure for life safety and for egress was sitting behind a protected core.” World Trade Center buildings have gone up with a high-strength concrete never before used in New York City buildings. Their cores are protected by extremely strong walls ensconcing the most essential functions of a building, including mechanical escape routes and stairwells.