MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
This paper compares two design approaches for a 4-story atrium. The subject is the New Burke Museum building that is currently under construction in Seattle, WA. Under normal conditions, this building has four levels that are connected by different horizontal and vertical openings. The building design utilizes a series of vertical and horizontal acting fire doors to create separation and eliminate the atrium condition. The building’s alternate design is compared to a traditional atrium design meeting the requirements of section 404 of the IBC with an active smoke control system designed using NFPA 92B. In order to complete the analysis of the two designs a study of the entire Burke Museum building and how it meets current building code requirements is also summarized. This includes the buildings construction type, occupancies, fire and smoke protection features, egress requirements and fire protection systems. The comparison is based on code compliance, fire and life safety performance and impact to the building design. It is found that both designs meet the building code. The alternate design to create separation has the least impact to the design. When designed and maintained properly, an active smoke control system will maintain tenability longer than creating separation.