Waterford Fire Station is the emergency response centre for fire fighting, river rescue, car crashes, training and public consultation in the region. In an inhospitable environment on the ring road around the city, it creates its own artificial landscape, a new geography of enclosure.
Shaped around the active service it delivers where function is paramount, the building form is derived from the tracking movements of the fire tenders leaving their appliance bays at speed and returning after fire fighting duties. A strong but simple enclosing form wrapped in zinc is folded around - origami-like - to enclose a large drill yard, itself differentiated into different training zones. Behind the clear organisational form of the building, the fire station operates like a large family, with tough training designed to foster lasting bonds of mutual support essential for hazardous fire fighting operations. The Station has been thought of like a large house, with people coming and going at different hours, some sleeping, some wakeful. A series of linked spaces conducive to family life are assembled, facilitating everything from serious and dirty training, to individual study, to communal recreation, to cooking the Sunday roast in the heart of operations – the canteen.
Organised in a sort of spiral, rising from single storey vehicle parking, workshops and dormitories to a first floor of offices, canteen, leisure and study facilities and terminating at a third storey lecture theatre, the zinc 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.