The architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) will build the new State Fire Brigade School in Wurzburg. In the summer of 2012, gmp were awarded the contract following a negotiated tendering procedure and the company has now presented its design to Wurzburg’s Commission for Urban Design and Architecture. The project involves a new practice hall on the site of the Fire Brigade School in order to meet the changed requirements of the training program.
The site is in a very exposed location so that the new practice hall building will be visible from afar, and will clearly mark the position of the State Fire Brigade School within the Zellerau neighbourhood. In order to blend the building into its immediate environment and align it with the perspective from the streets, it has been deliberately positioned such that it is aligned with the visual axis from Weissenburgstrasse. The tower block is clearly distinguished from the practice hall so that the new building ensemble is formed by two interlinked geometric entities, with the hall measuring 77 meters in length and the tower block 31 meters in height. The two entities are framed by white plastered reinforced concrete walls, with the remaining façade being largely glazed in order to allow a generous amount of daylight into the building. In this way, the new building will reflect its environment during the day; at night the effect is reversed and the tower block will radiate light outwards, so that the internal load bearing structure of the hall becomes visible and fire drill practice can take place protected from the weather.
The total floor space comprises about 7,700 square meters and includes faithful replicas of apartments, hospital rooms, office rooms and catering facilities for the purpose of simulated fire drill activities; in addition there is a fair-faced concrete training wall at the east elevation which is intended for practice exercises with ladders. The roof of the practice hall building to the south of the tower block is finished with a roofing foil and supports an array of solar photovoltaic panels.