How Fort & Castle Design Informs Architecture in an Era of Mass Shootings

9 min readMay 17, 2022

The architectural reaction of a nation at war with itself.


You don’t have to look far to know why talking about mass shootings is relevant. In an age with lax gun regulations, heightened political and racial tensions, and mass communications — mass shootings have, unfortunately, become a staple in our weekly news cycle.

This issue has not only permeated our state of ease and our sense of worth as a nation —but has ramified into many fields’ forefront imperative. For example, the world of Architecture is reacting and responding to what this new reality means when designing public-private spaces, like supermarkets, schools, and government buildings.

As history continues to repeat itself, the United States needs to be armed with buildings that ensure the protection of barbaric heathens. Are we in the Medieval U.S. period? You know, one that is motivated by skewed religious leaders that justify barbaric treatment and policy based on a God only they follow and then proceed to actively shove it down an ignorant population’s throat? Perhaps we’ll leave the philosophical speculations for a different time.

This article aims to use castle and military fort design precedents to inform how your public area could avoid more casualties. Some of these design tips can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your structure while increasing the chance of preventing a horrible event from being worse than it fundamentally already is.

Elevation & Slope

Medieval castle recreation

In case you didn’t know, castles were fortifications for important people (like a lord or a king). There are similarities between them and military forts — in terms of creating an enclosure to protect people within its walls or perimeter, but a castle was someone’s home, while a fort was a military outpost.

What is important to note in this particular is how the castle is standing at a higher plane, with a slope separating it from the point of access. There is also a disconnection point, meant to be a way to temporarily isolate the perpetrators from…


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