SHKS Architects designed the structural upgrade, renovation and addition to the Seattle Fire Department's Fire Station 31. The project was funded by the Fire Facilities and Emergency Response Levy Program, approved by Seattle voters in 2003.
The existing station was built in 1973. Constructed of uninsulated hollow core masonry units and concrete, the facilities were inadequate, both structurally and operationally, and in great need of upgrade and repair. Rather than demolishing the building, the city chose to rehabilitate the existing station. The iconic hose tower was preserved, continuing to serve as a landmark in the community. Renovation and reuse of the existing building conserved energy, resources, and time, resulting in a more sustainable project.
During construction, operations were temporarily relocated across the street to the parking lot of the Northgate Baptist Church.
The project included a seismic upgrade of the entire building to immediate occupancy following a seismic event. A new apparatus bay and stair were added to house a hazmat reserve unit. Existing spaces in the station were renovated to accommodate bunker gear and equipment storage and a decontamination room. Separate sleeping quarters for medics were added above the existing entry. Envelope, energy and mechanical systems improvements included replacement of single glazed windows and skylights with insulated units, a new roof membrane and insulation, hydronic heating system upgrades and new fire sprinklers and alarms.
The exterior materials chosen for the project are durable, lightweight, and recyclable. The additions consist of simple boxes, clad in corrugated metal siding. The coping on the West addition is reinforced with steel plate to allow for ladders to be leaned up against the building without damage to the siding. Steel plate “eyebrows” above new openings serve as a horizontal datum line contrasting with the vertical siding. CMU blocks are used as shear elements, infill, site walls, and as a partial veneer at the West addition. The hue and texture of the CMU picks up colors in both the existing masonry and the new metal siding. Clear anodized windows and storefronts provide a contrast to the bronze anodized frames at existing openings. The existing flagpole was relocated and is now supported by the addition above the main entry.
The improvements to Fire Station 31 have significantly increased the facility’s safety, functionality, and comfort, helping the Seattle Fire Department continue to protect and serve the community.
The project, rededicated in April, was constructed by Pellco Construction.