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Architects assemble real-time model of Grenfell Tower fire

Still shot from Forensic Architecture's Grenfell Tower plea-for-evidence video
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An architecture and research practice has called for evidence to help it build a three-dimensional model of how fire spread through Grenfell Tower

Forensic Architecture, which operates from Goldsmiths at the University of London, is collating video footage from local people’s mobile phones and professional news crew as it works to recreate last summer’s tragic blaze.

The practice hopes the resultant film, which will superimpose footage on to a model of the building, will aid efforts to understand how flames spread so quickly.


It will be made available to Martin Moore-Bick’s team, which is conducting a public inquiry into the fire, and the Judith Hackitt-led panel reviewing Building Regulations in light of the blaze.

Seventy-one people lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire in west London on 14 June 2017. 

Forensic researcher Nick Masterton said the practice felt compelled to act on the tragedy.

‘We all watched it on the news and it was a heartbreaking moment,’ he told the AJ. ‘As Londoners, we knew the area – and it affected us.

‘There is a wealth of video out there from hand-held devices, semi-professionals and news crews. We will project them on to a 3D model of the building and site context and move through the hours of the fire.

‘We want it to be accessible to allow people to carry out their own analysis. It will never be in a final state, it can always be added to.’

Masterton, who used to work for WilkinsonEyre, is joined at Forensic by other architects as well as investigative journalists, programmers, graphic designers, film-makers and others. The practice sits within the university’s Department of Visual Cultures, and is funded in part by a grant from the European Research Council.

Forensic wants members of the public to submit video footage of the fire via grenfellmediaarchive.org.

Meanwhile, Labour London Assembly member and professional architect Navin Shah has called for the government to enforce certain new anti-fire measures in wake of the Grenfell Tower blaze.

Shah called for automatic fire suppression systems to be mandatory in all new-build housing towers greater than 18m tall and for all new care homes and sheltered housing in England to be fitted with sprinkler systems.

‘What happened to Grenfell Tower and the people who lived there must never be allowed to happen again,’ he said.

Moore-Bick is this week holding procedural hearings at Holborn Bars to review progress on the public inquiry.

Ahead of these hearings, a list of 532 ‘core participants’ in the inquiry was published, including Studio E Architects, which completed a £10 million refurbishment of Grenfell Tower in 2016.

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