There’s more to safe streets than bollards and bomb dogs

In two recent projects, Rogers Marvel Architects (RMA) has shown that safety can be integrated in subtle and beautiful ways.

In 2002, the Battery Park City Authority hired the RMA team to oversee their streetscape improvement project.


Even the sidewalks assumed protective powers. Existing cobblestone band that surrounds much of the World Financial Center were used to install a core of collapsible concrete in front of the benches. It is sturdy enough for pedestrians but is designed to give under the weight of anything heavy, like a truck bomb (image above).

RMA also infused security qualities in benches that act as both furniture and illumination. The bench is luminescent depending on the angle of the sun; at night, it is lit by LEDs. The benches form an axis, from the site of the future Ferry Terminal to the World Trade Center site. The elements on the other axis are stainless steel and glass shade structures that are lit from below. Interlayers in the glass bounce the light back down at night so that light pollution is minimized. One structure provides a shelter at the new dog run; another provides a structure for security workers.

RMA then worked on the New York Financial District Streetscapes + Security project.


At the Wall Street intersections, RMA used retractable bollards. However, at Broad Street, tangles of utility lines below the street made this solution nearly impossible. So they came up with a rotating disc that sits level with the ground. With bollards lined up across it, the 20-inch deep disc rotates to allow vehicles to pass by when necessary. In a nod to the surrounding historic buildings’ heavy old doors, the bollards are made of bronze and double as benches (picture above).

Via The Architect’s Newspaper. More images and information in ASLA.