• ENGINE 38 FIRE STATION

The City of Philadelphia was faced with the need to replace the Fire Department's Engine 38 fire station in the City’s Tacony neighborhood. The existing station that sat adjacent Interstate Route 95 was demolished to make way for improvements the Commonwealth was making to this major artery.

The site for the new station is in Tacony's Disston Park.This park extends along the southeastern boundary of Tacony, and separates the neighborhood from the railroad tracks, I-95 and the Delaware River beyond. Extending nearly the length of the neighborhood, the park provides to residents ballfields, tennis courts, gardens and green space over several blocks.

The building is sited in such a way as to allow the park space to pass continuously between the station building and Keystone Street in its existing continuum from one block to the next. In an unofficial exchange for parkland, the City provided the neighborhood with a community room integrated within the fire station design. The existing terrain of the park, a broad plateau atop a steep bank above the public sidewalks lends itself to a highly functional and appropriate level of integration and separation of the Fire Department, community room and park.

The resulting 11,000 square foot facility has primary Fire Department functions on a first floor with apparatus bays and apron facing Magee Avenue. Other Fire Department functions are arranged in a surrounding u-shape. On the side facing the railroad is the staff parking lot and outdoor space tucked below the level of the adjacent park, and acting as a buffer from the railroad right-of-way.

The community room and support spaces are at the second floor and more-or-less level with the existing park. Marrying the community room to the surrounding park landscape is a sizable, inviting front porch that will allow functions to expand into the outdoors. The building design brings together in contemporary construction the notions of significant civic presence, Victorian scale and context, and rich early industrial history of the neighborhood within a rare expanse of urban green space.

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