Project DescriptionIn order to improve the capabilities of the Fire Department of New York to respond to fires in the Sunset Park community, the New York City Department of Design and Construction worked with the FDNY and RKTB-ERM Architects to build a new double company, 3-story firehouse on the lot of an existing 2-story firehouse. The new firehouse is one of the first to be built under the DDC’s Design Excellence Program and sets the general design standards for all new firehouses.
In order to identify and safeguard enduring firehouse traditions, the architects tapped into the experience of the FDNY's own architectural staff and sought input from firefighters and their officers early in the design process. The results gave the highest priorities to apparatus floor function, vertical circulation, response time and operation of the ground-floor-shared spaces. Elements of the existing structure have been incorporated into the interior, however, preserving a portion of the building's history.
The apparatus floor was designed to accommodate FDNY's largest anticipated apparatus, a tower ladder truck, as well as its largest pump truck and a standard battalion truck. Due to the family- like nature of a fire house and the continuous use of the facility, the most commonly used areas of the fire house — lounge, courtyard spaces, kitchen and dining facilities — were included on the ground floor.
The second floor contains offices, bunkrooms, toilets and lockers, and shared storage facilities. Great care was taken to incorporate quick horizontal and vertical circulation that allows access to the front and rear of the apparatus trucks on the ground floor. The third floor is devoted to the private spaces of the firefighters and includes a dormitory bunk room, study facilities, and separate lockers and showers for men and women.
The importance that fire houses play in the life of the community is expressed through the use of symbolic elements in the design of the front façade, including the use of glazed red brick and the incorporation of the Maltese Cross in a suspended, illuminated glass lantern. In addition, the front of the apparatus floor is transparent to promote a strong connection between the firefighters and the community they serve.