Arup fire engineers marked the anniversary of the Great Fire of London by teaming up with public arts event charity Artichoke and American ‘burn artist’ David Best.
The London’s Burning festival lasted one week and the finale saw a 120 meters long wooden replica of the 1666 city skyline being set alight on the Thames in a re-enactment of the Great Fire on Sunday September 4.
Artichoke commissioned Arup to provide fire and environmental advice for the project, with the fire engineering team’s key challenge being to enable a highly controlled, prolonged and visually spectacular fire that the people of London could enjoy safely.
Prior to the event, the team provided consultancy and carried out fire safety assessments and conducted testing to inform the management of any risks to spectators, property or the environment.
The lessons from the Great Fire of London are still as relevant as ever to architects, engineers and city planners as it raged for four days leaving significant proportions of the City destroyed, while thousands were made homeless as a result.
The event marked a change in fire safety, which led to the introduction of new building regulations such as the London Building Act of 1667, which were enforced by surveyors for the first time.
Arup Fellow and Global Fire Leader, Dr Barbara Lane, said that even 350 years on, the impact of the Great Fire is still relevant in their approach to planning for and dealing with fire in the built environment.
Lane continued: “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.”