A dense, South Philadelphia residential neighborhood is home to the 1st Police District and the Fire Department's Engine Company 60 and Ladder Company 19. These safety services required new buildings, and the city found a single site to accommodate the two related yet entirely separate entities. Cecil Baker + Partners welcomed the challenge to meet the needs of both user groups in an elegant yet utilitarian building that respects the immediate neighborhood.
The building is organized into two, fully independent units, sharing a single party wall. Each department has its own image, albeit arrived at from a common design vocabulary. The Police Station is organized around a central public circulation space, which in turn is circled by a private, secure, second ring of circulation. The Fire Station is organized around a four bay apparatus room, with all surrounding functions directly accessible. The lounge and training room together are thought of as the social and recreational center of the Station.
The building envelope is materially expressed with brick, marble, translucent glazing panels and glass. The brick elevations reflect the character and scale of the neighboring rowhouses. The marble elevation faces a city park and is a statement to the public mission of the structure. The translucent glazing panels allow for controlled light transmittance while at the same time provide the privacy necessary to the functions of the police station.
“...the Siamese twin nature of the users appears to have been challenged, rebuffed and still resolved in a way that offers continuity and respect to the residential neighborhood.”
“Interplay of volume, tone and color – explicit yet unique.”
“ Very simple in volume... very refined detailing that breaks down its scale...”