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Originally published in 

When Seattle’s fire stations needed an overhaul, the city selected local architects to give these ultimate live/work spaces a modern-minded update.

Seattle, Washington, firefighters don’t need to bunk next to their trucks anymore. Thirteen architecture firms so far have been hired as part of a $300 million program to upgrade all 32 neighborhood stations by 2015 (20 substantial renovations and 12 new constructions), and each proposed a sustainable new style of fire-station living.

Fire Station 39 by Miller Hull Partnership (above)
Massive glazed doors invite the community to peep into this outpost’s guts and rigs, while an external steel sculpture acts as water feature, filtering rain from the roof to a 7,000-gallon underground cistern that supports toilet and truck-washing needs. Kitchen and sleeping quarters are separated from working areas, preventing smudges from dirty work gear.

Fire Station 38 by Schreiber Starling & Lane Architects
Color coding characterizes the exterior of Station 38, set on a reclaimed brownfield site: White demarcates the living spaces, red is for working, and slate indicates operations. The distinct curved roof channels rain runoff to a garden. The firefighters appreciate the revised operational flow that has them out the door from anywhere in their new home within a minute of the bell tolling.

Fire Station 30 by Schacht Aslani Architects
Sunlight changes the look of Number 30’s imaginative frittered-glass signage, but the red doors in front remain colorfast. Schacht Aslani Architects’ Eric Aman moved five bunk rooms upstairs, allowing the “beanery,” a kitchen-dining room with a range, stove, television, and dining table, to take in the street-level views downstairs. Geothermal heat and on-site stormwater treatment helped the building achieve LEED Gold certification.


Click here for our extended slideshow of Seattle's fire stations.

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