Generally, every public building design requires the consideration of the interaction of people with each other and the space to ensure the user’s safety. Observations have also shown that conglomeration of a large number of individuals per space often times proved a potential circulation threat. This factor thus necessitates measures to manage and control the movement of people around and within public building as well as catering for emergency evacuation of the crowd. A major challenge to achieving this is observed in places of worship in Nigeria with two major religions. This paper aims to assess the practices in measures for passive crowd control design with emphasis on design for crowd evacuation in large capacity ecclesiastical buildings in Abuja, Nigeria. The objective is to enhance safety and security through improved design of ecclesiastical buildings to better cope with a large crowd in extreme events. The methodology being descriptive survey method are founded on extensive literature review, observation of specific features and physical measurement of elements being evaluated in the buildings. Findings from this study highlight the deficiency in ecclesiastical building design, develop design strategies for direction in crowd control and make recommendation to improve design for safety and security during events and emergency in such public places. The paper concludes the need to develop guidelines for designing ecclesiastical buildings in Nigeria with specificity for crowd control whilst recommending that due attention be given to the adequate proportion of occupants to an area of space to avoid crowd congestion or constipation.
Keywords: crowd control, ecclesiastical buildings, emergency evacuation, extreme events.