Fire stations of the world: Bergen Fire Station in Norway
Built in 2007, Bergen Fire Station is situated at Lungegårdskaien 44, 5015 in Bergen, Norway between the highway and lake Store Lungegårdsvann. Bergen, historically Bjørgvin, is a city and municipality in Vestland county on the west coast of Norway. Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway. The municipality covers 465 square kilometres and is on the peninsula of Bergenshalvøyen. The copper-clad, curved Bergen Fire Station faces a magnificent lake and the station has a training tower with rock climbing walls, a full-size basketball court and bays for nearly two dozen apparatus. A challenging piece of land wedged between a highway and a water body was used to its full extent and the designers considered the needs of fire fighters who must maintain physical fitness. The building also used photovoltaic cells on the roof to provide power for the station helping reduce energy costs. The building is facing its green copper back to the road. “The Municipality and the Fire Department in Bergen have been strongly focused on the creation of a modern Fire Department,” said Johnny Breivik, Fire Chief of Bergen Fire Department. Bergen Fire Brigade is home in Hordaland on the west coast of Norway surrounded by rural and rugged scenery. The city centre consist of many wooden houses and many have, quite rightly, taken their place on UNESCO’s list of the world’s most valuable historical and cultural places worthy of preservation.
The base (first and second floor) of Bergen Fire Station includes the shoreline, the front yard and the solid south end, which gradually dissolves into structural slabs and pillars. The increasing openness of the structure to the north is an invitation to future settlement and urban development in the area. The entire base is made of concrete, casted on site. Secondary structural elements are steel and aluminium. The design goal was to promote a rough look. Garages, workshops, emergency dressing rooms, technical rooms and storage rooms are located in these two lower floors. The screen ie third and fourth floor is the most prominent element of the facility. It rests on and cantilever over the base. The screen is designed so that the roof, the west facade and the floor plane between the second and third floor stands out as one element. In order to emphasise the shape, natural copper plates is chosen for cladding. The roof is compact with cellular glass on steel plates. Copper cladding is attached to the metal brackets in the glass cells.
The screen contains bedrooms and living room for the contingency crew and administrative functions. The screen opens towards the front yard, the water and the mountains. The facade facing front yard is entirely made of untreated larch and glass. Slender vertical pillars clarify the rhythm and emphasise the curved shape. The pillars function as wind bracing for the facade and bearing for the large windows. The roof and the ceiling of fourth floor are tilted to open up towards the view of the mountains even more. On the second floor there is direct access to balconies from all rooms. The balcony is lowered into the screen in the whole length of the building.
The structural elements of the screen are steel structure and hollow core slabs. The steel beams with corrugated sheeting supports the roof, while cladding in addition to glass is mainly wood. The goal has been to promote a refined, processed expression, characterised by wood, glass and bright surfaces.
The tower rises from the base. The design of the tower is due to fire training requirements, such as smoke diving in the stairwell. Balconies are used both to rest during smoke diving exercise and to practice rescuing people. The bridge spans under the screen and connects with the tower. It is lifted a few feet of the ground to visually highlight division between the city and the fire service area without forming a barrier and provide for good visual connection. It signals a clear distinction to an area that requires special considerations; the general public is able to overlook activities of the fire department from the bridge without being in the way.
The bridge contains rehearsal rooms with direct connection to the tower. It also serves as a roof over the fire department parking lot. The main structural elements of the bridge are two high steel trusses. Exercise room is a box of light clinker brick fitted in the truss. The material is chosen because of its ability to withstand the high temperatures (200 - 300ºC) and its insulating properties. Cladding of the bridge is untreated larch to give the whole bridge appearance of a strong wooden beam.
In March 2016 Bergen Fire Brigade invested in a new SCBA and incident support unit, due to recent fires in the wooden townhouses. The new combined SCBA and Incident Command Support Unit, built on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis is long-bodied, V6-engined van that has been modified and is fitted with cutting-edge communications technology that can be used to support and monitor all fire fighters in any incident environment. Multiple screens can be viewed and operated inside the front area of the vehicle, which also can be used for meetings and briefings. Incendium also installed the MSA A2 software, which is a accountability monitoring application supplied by MSA for real time display of persons, team assignments, cylinder pressure including time remaining, low cylinder pressure, motion alarm, manual alarm, battery warnings, temperature warnings, gas alarms and gas concentration.
Sources: Arch Daily, Nautic Expo, Incendium
Photographs: Petr Šmerkl, Kim Müller