Waterford Fire Station

The Fire Station provides emergency response for fire fighting, river rescue, car crashes and training. A strong form wrapped in zinc is folded - origami-like - to enclose a drill yard for training. It creates its own artificial landscape, a new geography of enclosure, to create a warm environment for human activity – an image of care in a small city.

Located in an inhospitable environment on a ring road around the city, the Fire Station folds its functions to enclose a training yard, the building form derived from tracking movements of fire engines leaving and returning at speed. Zinc was selected for its robust appearance and performance, a simple skin wrapping a variety of functions into a coherent, strong three-storey form. A rooftop public room sits over 2 training floors, with glazed appliance bays giving views of fire engines to children passing on the street. Ireland’s Fire Stations are public buildings to which people come – they play a significant role in community celebrations like St Patrick’s Day Festival, when fire tenders are decorated and parade through city streets – in this context the enclosure becomes an urban space, its drill tower a reminder of distant urban monuments, a piece of city in a wild environment.

Shaped around the active service the Fire Station delivers where speed and technical preparation is paramount, a clear dynamic form with essential ground floor functions encloses a practical yard which protects staff and equipment from potential vandalism. A ribbon of linked functions generates a spiral, rising from vehicle parking, workshops and dormitories to first floor offices, canteen, leisure and study facilities, and terminates in a second floor lecture theatre. The roof is angled and cut away to provide a series of sheltered inside-outside spaces overlooking the yard, where the drill tower acts like an urban beacon in a new public space. In parallel with this organisational arrangement, the Fire Station operates like a large family, with tough training designed to foster bonds of mutual support essential for hazardous fire fighting. So the concept for the Station is like a big house, with people arriving at different hours, some sleeping, some wakeful - linked spaces conducive to family life, facilitating everything from serious training, individual study, communal recreation, to cooking the Sunday dinner in the heart of operations – the canteen.

Ecocem GGBS concrete floors / stairs cores.
Steel roof structures & plywood sheeting.
Airtight blockwork walls
Irish “A-rated” standard
Long life Zinc cladding
Aluminium glazing
GGBS parking surfaces
Active Sustainable Systems-
Rainwater harvesting
Heat recovery ventilation
Daylight sensor artificial lighting