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Ground Breaking Art or Blinkered Gallery


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This Nottingham gallery have installed some contemporary art that is supposed to represent an artists head smoking due to thinking too much (?!)

Ironically the 'artist' and gallery management didn't exactly overthink what might happen if out pump steam from along the roofline of your building in a city centre. Cue multiple false alarms - good intents - from anxious passer-bys.

I wouldn't think a fire there would be much of a problem anyway, as they could smother it with the duvet from the unmade bed 

Have a look at the BBC video


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They will soon put a stop to that. I spent 8 years working at Stretford which covers Trafford Park. The amount of calls we used to get from people, some from miles away that could see steam and confuse it for smoke was unreal. It was always those cold mornings when the air was still, and the temperature around freezing point that got the most attention. The number of "False Alarm Good Intent" coded stops was a nightmare. 

Of course, being one of the largest industrial estates in Europe, we were never going to fix the problem, so I guess they still get their fair share. 

The issue here I guess is that they can't not respond just in case it is a fire. We all know the first time they don't respond, the place will be a car park.

  • Kudos 1
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This will always be a problem anywhere that doesn’t look like it should be smoking. I.e. not a chimney or vent. As a veteran of Canary Wharf, when the HVAC system was first switched on almost 27 years ago, come the autumn we at Poplar and surrounding stations began to get plagued by calls to 'smoke coming from roof' or 'canary wharf tower on fire'. It became a real issue on clear cold day with high pressure weather. The low sun would make the smoke appear dark from behind and the high pressure made it very volumous and thick in a clear sky.

At that time, No1 Canada Square was very much on its own, all these years later surrounded by dozens of other buildings almost as tall it now hides away a bit. But I still get a little bit nostalgic when from time to time on a cold clear day the mobilising system pops up with a 'smoke issuing' Canary Wharf Tower. It’s now just a solitary single pump attendance. But back in the day, when the consultation for the UK's first supertall high rise was CFO Clarkson’s pet project, it would attract 4 Pumps an aerial and a CU.... half a dozen times or more per day.

You can see the effect in the photo below where a low sun is darkening the steam and how the steam coming from the flat roofs of the surrounding towers looks more natural that that seemingly coming through the roof of the tower.... which it is as the roof is vented. I can recall one solution I heard many years ago was to divert the steam through a 'chimney' attached to the roof to one side.... as you can imagine, the owners, architects and other lovers of aesthetics were beside themselves.

Canary Wharf.jpg

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