From the Meiji Period to today the techniques of firefighting have shifted from the protection of a district, with large main streets or fire-resistant storehouses providing firebreaks, to en-masse fire-protected buildings, ensuring people’s ability to escape a conflagration. In the post-war period, with the densification of Tokyo, the vertical concrete staircases in multistory buildings—which themselves served as firebreaks along the main streets—became the major escape route, complemented by various types of devices that can be used from balconies or windows. In contemporary high-rises the common circulation system has become host to an entire emergency system, with smoke and gas detectors, alarms connected to ground-floor emergency centers, sprinklers, fireproof staircases, special emergency fire-fighter elevators, and even rooftop helicopter landing-pads.
Eduard HauskaMeng LiShabrina AlyaniShiqui Liang
Thing of Modernity – Mapping the Micro-geography of Everyday Environments