Farglory Land Development Co (遠雄建設) yesterday criticized the results of a Taipei City Government investigation into the safety of the Taipei Dome (台北大巨蛋), attacking the assumptions used by the city’s evacuation simulation.
“We cannot accept demolishing either the Dome or the neighboring shopping mall,” Farglory general manager Tang Chia-feng said. “Given that we have already received full marks in safety simulations, there is absolutely no reason to tear down a single wall.”
Architect Stan Lo (羅興華) — whose firm Archasia Design Group Ltd (瀚亞聯合建築師事務所) was contracted by Farglory to design the Dome — criticized the design of the city’s evacuation analysis, stating that it assumed fleeing spectators would be unable to leave the complex’s surrounding plaza.
“Concentrating on the plaza [surrounding the Dome] is extremely unreasonable,” Lo said. “The only way this would happen would be by barricading the plaza’s parameters to keep people from leaving.”
The city’s analysis found that the plaza could only hold 60,000 people, compared with the 140,000 people who would flood it in an emergency.
Lo said the city’s analysis failed to take into account additional dispersal space offered by the neighboring Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, which would increase the site’s capacity to 260,000 people if included.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
In reality, the city would also likely block off traffic along neighboring Guangfu S Road and Zhongxiao E Road to allow people to quickly disperse in the event of an emergency, he said.
Assuming people could leave the complex, 30,000 people at most would be concentrated in the plaza at any one time during the evacuation process, he said.
He also dismissed concerns that fire trucks would not be able to reach the structure during an evacuation.
“The Taipei Dome would not burn on its own because there is nothing to burn,” he said, adding that his firm estimated that any fire would be put out within 10 minutes by the Dome’s automatic fire suppression system.
Even if a fire continued, the Dome’s huge volume would keep temperatures to safe levels long after spectators had been evacuated, he said.
Lo added that the presence of a neighboring shopping mall would not influence the evacuation because of the concentration of spectator seating. As a baseball stadium, the Dome was designed to place the vast majority of seats away from the shopping mall, which is next to the stadium’s outfield, he said.
He said that a fireproof wall between the shopping mall and Dome would prevent any fire from spreading between the two structures.
Lo said that the standards and software used by the firm were in full accordance with international standards, denying that the firm’s simulations had failed to take into consideration the presence of seating as an obstacle to the evacuation of the Dome.
Tang said that Farglory was yet to make a decision about legal action, given that it remained unclear what steps the city government would take.
The firm’s lawyer, Wang Shih-kai (王師凱), said the company was on firm legal ground because it had already received the requisite permits for the construction from the Ministry of Interior’s Construction and Planning Agency and the Taipei City Government. With the exception of mediation over missed construction deadlines, the firm was in full accordance with its contract.
Tsai Chung-i (蔡宗易), vice president of Farglory Land Development’s public relations department, said that if the city insists on implementing the recommendations of its committee, the firm would require the city to purchase the complex for its full value. He declined to provide an estimate of the exact figure, adding that the firm had yet to conduct an analysis.
Lo’s comments sparked an online caricature.
Lo said that buildings he designs do not need firefighters, because “if a modern building cannot extinguish a fire within 10 minutes, let it burn.”
The comment was satirized with three pigeon firefighters saying: “Write down the names of the buildings built by this designer, then we do not have to go to these buildings if there is a fire.”
Additional reporting by Jake Chung
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