New York Fire Department
Located in Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood, the new Rescue Company 2 facility is designed as a tool for training, enabling FDNY’s elite force of specialized rescue workers to stage and simulate a wide range of emergency conditions in, on, and around the building.
The rescue company is trained to respond to various emergency scenarios, from fire and building collapses to water rescues and scuba operations. During these emergencies, rescuers must often utilize voids in buildings, whether creating them to let heat and smoke out of a structure or locating them as a means of escape.
To enhance the company’s training, the new facility is organized around a large interior void, a space that extends from the ground to roof level. The void enables the team to practice rescue scenarios that mimic conditions common to the city, using its height and associated elements of balconies, bridge, doorways, ladders, and stairs. At the same time, it introduces natural light and fresh air deep into the living quarters, improving the quality of everyday life within the building.
“We were deeply impressed by the Company’s prowess and strong sense of community and wanted to create an open, highly visible new building that would expand their success and become a key public asset for Brownsville.
The new facility for Rescue 2 is designed to serve as a training tool that allows their elite team to stage and simulate emergency conditions in, on, and around the building, while also providing the neighborhood with inviting new gathering spaces that Company and community members can enjoy together.”
On the exterior, red glazed terracotta panels surround a smaller-scale series of voids (windows and doors) with highly crafted details animating these points of connection between the facility and the community it serves.
The design also creates a communal environment that supports the well-being of the rescue workers. The kitchen is designed as a primary social space, opening onto the apparatus floor. The back yard offers a venue for much-needed down time, socializing, and outdoor grilling. Open-air porches adjacent to the exercise room and office deliver fresh air to the facility’s second floor.
A green roof, geothermal HVAC system, and solar water-heating system reduce energy use, lowering the building’s carbon footprint. With its adaptable spaces, environmental approach, and civic scale, the new Rescue 2 facility is both a neighborhood fixture and important piece of infrastructure, supporting a highly trained corps who safeguard those who call New York home.
Award for Excellence in Design, Thirty-third Annual Design Awards, Public Design Commission, New York, 2015