Washington Hook and Ladder Firehouse, 272 County Avenue, Secaucus.
Built at the turn of the 19th century, the original 4000sf brick firehouse at 272 County Avenue in Secaucus, faithfully served the growing demands of the community for over a century.
By 2012 however, with many of the fire trucks being stored off site for lack of space, wasting valuable response time when it really mattered, it was clear that a major expansion was imperative. A series of early roundtables between the fire crew, the Mayor’s office and the architects helped solidify an ambitious brief while strict budgetary constraints were also established early.
The only open space around the existing 35ft wide two story structure was a small parking lot on the northern side. This space would allow a 2,750sf , 45ft wide two story addition with two new apparatus bays on the 1st floor and a large multipurpose space above. Services, bathrooms and accessory functions would occupy a linear core or ‘bookend' allowing the main spaces to be unobstructed clear spans. This linear core, which also contains the training stairs, is expressed externally as a modern take on the traditional firehouse tower. Bolds cladding colors, like ’fire engine red’, are used to visually indicate the function and hierarchy of the interior spaces.
The 2nd floor multipurpose space can be subdivided with retractable partitions to provide 3 classrooms, or remain open as a function room or emergency relief shelter in a sandy-like event. The interior of the existing shell was also completely renovated to modern needs and standards. Changing rooms, offices, a grand lobby, rec room and the obligatory fire pool were added. On the apparatus floor, the northern wall of the existing building was removed to create one large open flexible space that can accommodate up to 5 fire trucks. State of the art communication relay systems and integrated smart technology place this facility at the forefront of its typology in the region. As a landmark, the new Washington Hook and Ladder contributes to its neighborhood’s identity, sense of security, professional commitment and stability.