Part 2 in the Elevating the Discourse: Fire Stations series presents a number of incredible wooden projects. Several (if not all) of these buildings were awarded competitions. They also represent some of our favorite wooden projects. It is very encouraging, as an architect, to see municipalities that take design seriously – and are looking for daylit, healthy and energy efficient public works. Additionally, several of these projects are located in Vorarlberg – the results of a Fire Levy similar to the one passed here in Seattle a few years ago.
architect: Joos + Mathys
location: Andeer (CH)
20 miles south of Chur, the village of Andeer is small – so small that Romansch is still spoken there. This project is another study in utilitarianism. Offices and bunks straddle the apparatus bay for a compact, efficient form. The building is part of a larger complex including a forestry maintenance shop. The landscape of this region is stunning. We’ll return to document other amazing projects in the near future.
architect: Dietz-Joppien Architekten
location: Beelitz-Heilstaetten (DE)
year completed: 2002
This technical center is a study in contrasts to the adjacent historic firehouse-turned-museum: compact forms, bold lines, transparency and ribbon windows. The compact form references a horizontal datum, which contrasts with the tall trees in the nearby forests. The hose tower is situated as an object between old and new. Command room, changing rooms and administrative offices are on the ground floor with beanery, training, changing rooms and bunks above.
Feuerwehr & Kulturhaus Hittisau
location: Hittisau (AT)
year completed: 2000
While the fire station is actually concrete, the culture house is built with prefabricated timber panels. Finished surfaces are untreated fir. The proportions of this gem feel just right. This project was a winning competition entry from 1998.
Feuerwehr- und Bergrettungshaus Schoppernau
architect: hein architekten
location: Schoppernau (AT)
This building for the Schoppernau fire and mountain rescue stands out as an excellent solution to a common problem. It also combines administrative space for two separate functions in an elegant and compact form. Due to the topography of the site, the apparatus bay was located on the lower level, with the fire station presenting only the administrative face to the community center (also designed by Hein). Due to code requirements, the apparatus bay is concrete – but the remainder is locally sourced wood (spruce and fir). The project was awarded through an open competition and won the Vorarlberg Holzbaupreis in 2005.
location: Mellau (AT)
year completed: 2005
Similar in function and section to the Schoppernau project, this stunning building combines fire station and mountain rescue operations. The concrete apparatus bays are again located on the lower level. Entries to each function are on opposite sides allowing each to operate independently. The structure of the upper floor is (again) timber panels and glazed (elegantly) in the long direction. Interior is wood and red MDF – a little kitschy – but done rather well.
architect: Wolfgang Ritsch
location: Düns (AT)
year completed: 2001
Programmed as an accessory to an existing building, the addition is comprised of apparatus bay and hose tower. The training rooms, command room and beanery are located in the althaus. Simple and refined massing combined with elegant details make for a wonderful project.