There First

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Designed by Elemental Architecture (then The Stein Partnership) Rescue 1, completed in 1988, is the first facility designed for a rescue company. (Courtesy Eduard Hueber)

My story on Rescue 3’s new firehouse in the Bronx, designed by Polshek Partnership, alleged that it was the first such facility ever designed specifically for a rescue company’s needs. Alas, that assertion was woefully wrong. In 1987, Elemental Architecture (then The Stein Partnership) designed the new headquarters for Rescue Company 1—the first rescue company in the world. Located on West 43rd St. in Manhattan, the building includes many features tailored to the elite unit’s needs. These include a quick release system that allows the company’s Zodiac boat to be dropped from the ceiling and attached to the top of the apparatus, a decontamination shower (now a standard feature for FDNY and many other fire departments), and a SCUBA recharging station.

The facade of Rescue 1's original headquarters was salvaged and installed in the dining room bay. (Courtesy Elemental Architecture)

The headquarters project was initiated when Rescue 1’s original building—a 19th-century Napoleon LeBrun structure—was destroyed by a warehouse that collapsed upon it during a fire. In order to preserve a link to this past, the architects salvaged the old building’s facade masonry, ironwork, and apparatus door, reinstalling them in the new facility’s dining room.

Rescue 1 at night. (Courtesy Eduard Hueber)

2 Responses to “There First”

  1. […] Aaron Seward of the ‘Architects Newspaper’ discusses the design of Rescue Company 1 as the first among a new generation of firehouses for elite FDNY companies.  Read the post here. […]

  2. Sara Hart says:

    I live next door to Rescue 1 and have always admired the building and wondered how this sliver of a firehouse got such fine design. Now it’s sandwiched between my bulky building and another one, but it still dominates the street. The first responders who work there deserve the best. Their ranks were decimated on 9/11.

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