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The winners of Firehouse Magazine’s Station Design Awards were announced and S2’s Cambie Fire Hall No. 3 and Ambulance Services in Richmond, BC received a notable mention in the Mixed-Use Facilities category.

The new fire hall is the first combined urban fire and ambulance station in British Columbia. The facility consists of two bays for ambulance vehicles, two bays for fire rescue vehicles, two emergency vehicle technician bays and support spaces include recovering rooms, training classrooms, administrative spaces, kitchens and exercise space.

This project represents the type of design response we are passionate about. The term response being fundamental to providing the client with a solution that satisfies their functional and operational needs but does not lose sight of design integrity.

As a fire station, the building has very specific functions that are critical and measurable. As a building, it must fulfill additional, more notional concerns. The design fulfills the practical functions of fire response, firefighter training and provision of a comfortable living and working environment where inhabitants spend a good part of their day and night. It seeks to do this in a way that is not pretentious, not superficial and not exorbitant. It solves the functional criteria with a practical approach. As a building that carries the responsibility of providing a neighborhood service, the design was also crafted around issues we felt were important to the representation of the building. These included: security; safety; standing as beacon and anchor for the neighborhood; and expressing its purpose.

The design acknowledges the representational language of a fire station but attempts to reinvent and reinterpret this. Visibility is used to provide views of the fire apparatus, and truck bays, the clearest and most compelling representation of the building’s purpose. The building looks out over the neighborhood to provide a sense of protection. The design evolved from a response that listened carefully to the client’s needs and provided an architectural expression that was rooted in a concern for the quality of the built form.

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