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Fire Station, Dordrecht

Fire station, Technical service, GHOR, Da Vinci College - learning and workspace, Dordrecht NL, Project Team: René van Zuuk, Kersten Scheller, Peter Hagelaar, Wulf Oschwald, Client: Municipality of Dordrecht, Start of design: 2006, Completion: 2010-2011, Area: 7.000 m², Volume: 32.850 m³, Building costs: €10.000.000

The aim of the project was to construct a building for the second fire station of the city of Dordrecht. The brigade's technical service, a medical assistance station for accidents and disasters (GHOR), and part of the ROC (Da Vinci College) are also housed in the premises. The new, multi-function building is part of the Leerpark, an area within which there is intensive osmosis between companies and the ROC (Da Vinci College). The new fire station also serves as a learning hub. The new building is planned on a triangular plot on the edge of the Leerpark, near the provincial road N3. According to the urban plan, the building should be at least 12 meters high, in order to act as a noise barrier between the school in the back, and the neighbouring N3 road. The project mainly consists of fire engine garages, seven mechanical workshops, a 24-hour common area and an office area. In total, they occupy 5560m2. Additionally, parking spaces are provided for the 24 employees. There is also a smaller garage for the special ambulance service and the supporting facilities required, that covers 400m2. The Regional Training Center (Da Vinci College) in the back, is 190m2 in size and is the smallest part of the complex, housing a number of classrooms and practice examination rooms.

The new station would have to house 25 fire engines. Consequently, 25 garages were needed, with 25 overhead doors, which when added up, have more length than the longest side of the plot. The solution was a design in which the building volume on the ground floor would be split by two ''streets''. This creates sufficient area for placing the 25 garages.

The three volumes that arise as a result, have their individual function. The volume to the west is a common hall used by both the fire brigade and the GHOR. In the middle volume are the brigade's vehicle maintenance facilities, storage spaces for the brigade's equipment, and also wood and metal workshops. The space in the eastern side consists of the employees' open garage, for cars, motorbikes, and bicycles. The three volumes are connected spatially and functionally by two blocks located above them, that has been rotated by 90 degrees. The southern volume is one-storey high and is used by the technical department. It is connected to the workshops and the common hall on the ground level below. The block on the north side is two-storey high. The first floor consists of living rooms and bedrooms for the firefighters, as well as a fitness room and a canteen. The fire brigade's administration offices are located on the second floor.

The concept of stacking the building volumes is reinforced by the choice of materials and the detailing. On the ground floor, there is a combination of translucent polycarbonate panels and black sandwich panels. The polycarbonate allows an even amount of light to enter the workshops and the garages. The 24 employee parking spaces are enclosed by a stretched-sheet metal fence. This type of perforated metal is also used on the first floor, which is cladded with perforated aluminium sheeting, allowing light into the spaces while also protecting the privacy of the workers. On the second floor, the facade is completely exposed, using a green-tinted glass to provide a luminous working environment. The materials chosen for the exterior give the building an industrial feeling that matches the function of the fire station.

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