Val di Fleres Fire Station - Roland Baldi architects
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Val di Fleres Fire Station

Roland Baldi architects

Edited By Francesco Pagliari - 27 November 2015

The square, single storey Val di Fleres fire station is located on the valley floor, below a slope prone to landslides that send rocks and other material clattering down. A containment wall and basin were built to provide protection against such debris. The station itself then rises against this wall and extends towards the road, ending in a slightly sloped façade that mimics the line of the containment basin. The overall sense is of solid, regular shapes.  
The building is divided into two functional sections: the eastern side has a garage for the vehicles, with a storage area, workshop and utilities room towards the back, partially built into the wall; the western side is for the switchboard, control room, staff training areas, change-rooms and toilets, with natural light from skylights. The two sides are visually distinct, with the garage higher and the roof 'resting' on the adjacent volume. The smaller, western section also extends onto the vehicle-manoeuvring yard and is thermally insulated from the garage.
The four garage doors dominate the façade, each consisting of a full-height, glazed, folding door that allows natural light into the depths of the building. The smaller volume also has windows, providing light for the switchboard area and training room, which is set slightly back from the façade and switchboard.
The choice of external cladding was key to the overall project, especially as the structure is made of reinforced concrete, which is visible in the garage and on the soffit. Stones and debris from landslides were broken on site and used to clad the building. This produces an interesting double effect as the material from the landslides acts as a reference to the surrounding nature and it defines the building, with stones enclosed in a galvanised steel mesh that leaves the texture and lines of an irregular material exposed. The effect is quite imposing. The containment wall and crushed-stone cladding highlight the links between the complex and nature, leaving human influence in this design a well-articulated example of modernity.
Francesco Pagliari         

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