It’s a common conumundrum: wanting to design for aesthetics, but needing to integrate security systems into your project. How do you provide one, without sacrificing the other? Cameras, bullet-proof glass, and even metal detectors can be difficult to integrate into a design that won’t evoke feelings of being in danger. How do designers make the two competing needs come together?

Designing for Security and Aesthetics

Interior designers are increasingly working with security specialists to combine the two considerations. Ideally, the architect will integrate the need for security into the building’s construction: form follows function. However, design considerations, such as aesthetics, construction materials, and environmental concerns often outweigh security needs. With careful coorperation and planning, it can be done. The three areas where design and security can unite are Access Control, Surveillance, and Territorial Reinforcement.

Integrating Security Into Design:

The Three Main Areas

Access Control

In this arena, design can integrate both form and function. Items like door materials, handles and locks, keycard access points, and windows can all integrate design and safety. This is an area where fencing, pathways, and water features can enhance the building’s access security while maintaining a look and feel that is in-line with the customer’s wants and needs. Landscaping for access control can include low-growing, thorny shrubs at ground-level windows, and lighting design to illuminate areas that may naturally be shaded or not well-traveled by the building’s users.


Integrating Security into Aesthetics

Unobtrusive path lights create a nicely-lit walkway

This includes designing for increased visibility, such as window placement and window treatments, integration of security cameras in the overall design, security lighting that takes into consideration glare, shadows and blind spots, and enhanced visibility with open spaces throughout. This area can be difficult to design for, because balancing the needs of security and the comfort of a building’s users – no one wants to feel “spied on” – can create a particular challenge for the integration of the two.

Territorial Reinforcement

Territorial reinforcement measures include items such as motion sensor lighting in less-traveled areas and the building’s entry points, easy-to-maintain landscaping and building features, which sends a message of a well-cared for and occupied space, and display of security system signage – while not necessarily attractive – can serve as a deterrant. A nicely maintained space with appropriate signage, activity, and well-placed, comfortable seating in common areas creates a social and friendly space that conveys the perception of a community and the areas are controlled.

Beautiful Security

Marrying these two seemingly competing goals can be done – one need not be sacrified to attain the other. Creative thinking and careful planning can make a secure space beautiful.