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Ms. Branscomb noted that people could rebuild with masonry (or concrete ?) structures, and install sprinklers inside and out, but that that would be ugly and no one (or few) would do such a thing.
Fire-resistive construction can certainly include masonry – which certainly does not have to be "ugly" – and fire sprinklers, such as are required in certain fire-prone areas in the hills of Los Angeles (as in the newly renovated home of friends in the Griffith Park vicinity). Their sprinklers are just elements in the overall design, as are light fixtures and mechanical equipment.
To dismiss such materials / elements as being "ugly" and by extension, to be of little or no consequence in the picture of what it takes to develop and implement community-wide fire safe practice(s), as well as take individual responsibility – preventive or situationally reactive (as noted by another of your guests) – seems short-sighted.
Perhaps a better path to take in this discussion (which I encourage be taken-up again), is to be more open to exploring the complex web of interrelationships among basic planning (City / County), site development (architect / builder) and structure (designers / builders & owners - users).
There is so much emotion invested in the places we live, that when threatened or lost, we too often rush to judgement about what to do about "it." And, upon reflection, charred homes seem to be what is "ugly."
Stanley Keniston, AIA
October 30, 2009 at 11:53 a.m.
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