WXY Architecture and Urban Design present the FDNY EMS 27 Ambulance Station
Built on the site of a former fire station in the Bronx, this new building provides an EMS facility between a busy street and a neighborhood of small homes. The dual clients - FDNY and the city's construction agency - were participants in the citywide Excellence in Design and Construction Program, and desired to fit a large program and complex technical requirements into an extremely tight footprint. By exploiting the challenging site and program, the resulting building accommodates the technical needs of the users while also expanding the range and quality of the integrated social spaces and reinforcing the connections between the different contextual conditions surrounding the site.
The internal organization is driven by the need for visibility and immediate communication. Two interlocking functional blocks featuring double-height space and interior vision panels create openness and connectivity. A mezzanine with offices and life support overlooks the ground-floor space; the third-floor locker area opens to a balcony with dining and meeting spaces in the penthouse lounge above. Entwining these functional groupings is a central scissor stair, color-coded with ceramic wall tile.
Reflecting the interlocking floors inside, the four-level building reads as two stories from outside. The bold, striated envelope maximizes views and daylighting while responding to each façade's unique context. Materials are civically appropriate: masonry clad with brick at the base and vertical zinc panels above. Each facade is distinct in proportion of zinc to masonry and the striated glass openings vary from the primary "civic" frontage to the "residential" rear façade. Contextual façades respect the surrounding residential neighborhood while presenting a luminous civic gesture to the main street. The transparency and open views, apparatus bay positioning, and expansive roof terrace directly connect the stations' users with the surroundings.
The architecture of EMS 27 makes a strong yet refined and respectful statement. The design responds directly to two communities: the stations' users and the surrounding neighborhood. The architecture also allows the neighborhood to recognize meaningful commitment being made to their community and speaks to the importance of the services provided. The resulting architecture brings sophisticated design thinking to the periphery of New York City.