The Seattle Fire Department enlisted Bohlin Cywinski Jackson to design a new station to be located in the center of West Seattle. The department had outgrown its existing 45-year-old station, and the new station had to accommodate modern fire apparatus, the addition of a battalion chief, and new areas that support firefighter health and safety.
Challenges included addressing initial studies that indicated a larger station with the required parking and outside drill space could not be accommodated on the site of the existing station. The resulting station is a four-story facility with basement storage and service spaces and three floors above grade.
Firefighter response time helped designers come up with a layout for the new station, which houses Engine 32, Ladder 11, Medic 32, and Battalion Chief 7. The station’s lower floors are used for operational and administrative functions. The third floor is used for firefighter living spaces and makes use of natural light. Social spaces, like the beanery (kitchen) and station office, are visible along the street, while private bunk rooms and individual offices are located along the residential side.
The fully glazed north wall of the apparatus bay showcases the 59-foot-long tractor-drawn aerial and firefighter activities within for nearby residents and passersby. A pair of two-story brass sliding poles are visible beyond the ladder truck and provide direct access from the third floor living quarters allowing for rapid response time to emergencies. At the exterior rear apron, the public can observe the firefighters’ hose and ladder drilling exercises and truck equipment checks.
Abundant natural daylight and views to the outside throughout the station reduce energy use for lighting. The station generates its own energy through a rooftop photovoltaic array and solar hot water system High-efficiency heating and cooling and renewable energy systems resulted in 50 percent annual use savings.
For more information, visit https://www.bcj.com/projects/seattle-fire-station-32.