Fire Station 37
A fire station’s civic importance is embedded in its function as a bastion of public safety.
This new station replaces a beloved 1928 firehouse located three blocks away. The design goal was to build in the long tradition of urban fire houses; the design architecturally considers the new station’s most functional elements to state its role as a contemporary civic structure and to engage the community as a new generation of service commences.
The station plan builds on the analysis of ergonomics and movement; it is focused on minimizing impediments to incident response time, providing a safer, healthier working environment for the firefighters, and accommodating a new generation of fire-fighting equipment and protocol. Springing from that analysis, the program is laid out on the compact site to relate to the intersection of two adjacent arterial streets and the surrounding residential community. Emphasis on the transparency of the apparatus bay, the prominence of the hose tower marking the arterial, and the siting of a hand-operated kinetic art piece at the sidewalk all contribute to making the station an engaging urban neighbor. Second floor firefighter living spaces feature open planning, exposed structure, and connection to a roof terrace offering privacy, views into landscape, outdoor cooking and a kitchen garden.
Other elements of the project are the result of environmental fine-tuning: a scrim of stainless steel webbing on the west facade evokes the region’s hop-vine structures and creates a thermal buffer against summer sun; water collected from the roof and pavement are drawn to a rain garden at the street’s edge; a skylight above the stairwell brings daylight to the interior of the ground floor.