Boston Firehouse

Project Details

Name: Boston Firehouse
Type: Proposal
Location: South Boston, MA
Size: 30,000 SF

Project Team

Partner: Andrew Johnson
Design Features
Land and Water Fire Station
City Offices
Harbor Walk
Fireman Housing
Sustainable Features
Zoned Radiant Heating and Cooling
Operable passive building skins
Green roofs
Rainwater Collection
Optimal Solar and Wind Orientation
Project Description
The Boston Firehouse is composed of land and water buildings that are connected by a bridge and courtyard. Waffle slabs are used to span the very large distances necessary for the boat and truck bays. The land building uses an "L" shaped courtyard and the water building uses a pop-up addition to provide light and natural ventilation to the interior of the cubes.
The Concept
The Boston Firehouse consists of a land and water fire station on an empty lot in South Boston. Conceptually the project expresses two cubes - one public, one private - which are raised up above utilitarian program. The public and private cubes are located over the water and land respectively and appropriately to dramatize the transitional boundary and create a sensitive, public area in the interstitial space. 
The Form and Layout
The form of the cubes' supports was informed by the summer and winter wind patterns, as well as structural and code necessities. The supports were shaped to funnel summer wind through the common spaces while also redirecting the winter wind around these spaces. The spacing of the cubes is defined by the spans of the fire boat and truck bays and the egress requirements. The building layout begins with the separation of the public and private quarters which allows for a more efficient heating and cooling system since the private cube is a 24 hour operation and the public cube is unoccupied at night.
The Water Building
The Water Building contains all of the public functions of the fire station. It is positioned over the water to provide access to the fire boats, as well as to take advantage of the views. The Water Building is clad in a glass skin that is meant to create lightness, porosity, and reflectivity that interacts and absorbs the surroundings as a public face in South Boston. The skin multilayered glass curtain wall. The curtain wall was designed to create a heat wall by using the black side of the 360 degree operable louvers to absorb heat in the cavity while also being able to rotate the louvers to the white side in the summer and open up the cavity space to reflect the heat and flush the cavity with the cool air coming off of the ocean below. The whole curtain wall system was designed to be a prefabricated component to allow for easier installation and repair over the ocean. 
The Land Building
The Land Building contains all of the private functions of the fire station.  The Land Building skin is composed of an insulated concrete wall with an operable wood slat system as a rain screen.  The rain screen is used to differentiate the domicile second floor cube from the utilitarian first floor garage bay.  The wood slats covering the firefighter’s bedrooms provide a warmer, more human scaled and tangible surface than the first floor concrete.  The slats are designed to also shade the building during the summer months and allow for sun to penetrate and warm the building during the winter months.  The alternating depth of the slats was designed to break down the monotony of the cube and reference the scale of the Water Building.   
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