The Architecture Puzzler
Created by Dave Guadagni
Solution to Last Week's Puzzler
Architecture Puzzler #515
In 1987 we designed a computer room as part of new complex for a local utility company. Most of the building was protected by a sprinkler system. The computer room, however, was protected by a halon system. Why was halon used then, and why would it not be used now?
Halon gas extinguishes a fire by interfering with the chemical reaction of combustion, rather than by displacing oxygen or dousing with water, and therefore does little damage to sensitive building contents. For this reason it was often used in computer rooms, museums, and libraries. It contains CFCs, however, which pose a significant threat to the ozone layer, so halon's use in fire protection was phased out in the early 1990s.
Dave Guadagni, AIA, is an architect with Robertson/Sherwood/Architects
Quizzical Pursuit is Copyright 2011, Dave Guadagni.
The first automatic fire-sprinkler system was installed in 1874.
Photo: Brandon Leon