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New Downtown Fire Station #8


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For some reason I find this comment funny coming from someone with "Tuscany" in their name.   At least we seem to be mostly past the whole "Tuscan" phase...mostly...

Houston Fire Station #1  

The design faux pas of this fire station is so typical of Houston.  Rather than thinking about a design that works in an urban setting surrounded by sleek mid to late 20th century skyscrapers, the arc

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To bad the city of houston page has no renderings. I dont know why, but I would love to see brick arches around the engine bay entrances, rather than simple rectangular openings. They have that old feel, I guess.

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Yes, the city needs to fill in those large parking lot spaces. They need large parking garages and mixed-use complexes.

Also, if there are some empty lots in eastern Downtown, they would be prime space for a new community center, a new K-8 magnet/neighborhood school, and perhaps even a magnet high school.

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I'm sure its your average fire station.

This is what the newest fire station on Briar Forest near SH6 looks like: station86.jpg

To bad the city of houston page has no renderings. I dont know why, but I would love to see brick arches around the engine bay entrances, rather than simple rectangular openings. They have that old feel, I guess.

Here's what most Chicago fire houses look like:qn5r12.jpg

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  • 3 months later...
Architects looked at pictures of an old downtown fire station and designed the new fire station with old-fashioned features like a watch tower.

"If a fire station looks like a fire station and not a school, then people should be able to easily recognize that in an emergency situation, which I think is something we should do," said HFD Project Manager Barry Whitehead.

rest of the article: http://www.khou.com/topstories/stories/kho...n.590d1b7d.html

is it just me that doesn't look like fire station?

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Yea! If I'm not mistaken, that KHOU article shows a rendering...that looks "old", with dark red brick, and has those killer old-fasion arches I was talking about earlier in this thread. Me Happy!

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Yea! If I'm not mistaken, that KHOU article shows a rendering...that looks "old", with dark red brick, and has those killer old-fasion arches I was talking about earlier in this thread. Me Happy!

I don't see anything wrong with the design aside from the fact it seems to me they should have made it a multi-story building to allow for more trucks and eqiupment if the need arisis.

Maybe they didn't want any poles to slide down while they were sleepy. :unsure:

Unlike the other design posted by nmainguy, I WANT a firehouse to look like a firehouse. It's easier for someone that is not from the area to recognize it in an emergency.

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station8arccon.jpg

Looks great. Warm and inviting, implies its role. Blends a mechanical service function with an urban/suburban neighborhood instead of simply contrasting.

hadidf.jpg

Ugly, disjointed, cold, dehumanized, anti-social. Some silly pseudo-deep artistic/social/political statement first, function an afterthought. Clashes with the surrounding neighborhood instead of integrating into it.

The parable of 'The Emperor's New Clothes' is timeless.

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station8arccon.jpg

If its going to house up to 24 firefighters per shift plus some administration staff, that's at least 50 parking spaces needed every day at shift change. So where are they all going to park? This design looks like it would take the entire block.

I was hoping for a more vertical/urban design.

EDIT: Nevermind, I guess this design would only take half the block:

newstationphoto1.jpg

Edited by Jeebus
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station8arccon.jpg

Looks great. Warm and inviting, implies its role. Blends a mechanical service function with an urban/suburban neighborhood instead of simply contrasting.

hadidf.jpg

Ugly, disjointed, cold, dehumanized, anti-social. Some silly pseudo-deep artistic/social/political statement first, function an afterthought. Clashes with the surrounding neighborhood instead of integrating into it.

The parable of 'The Emperor's New Clothes' is timeless.

I just posted it as something out of the box. Don't worry, we'll get just what we deserve: bland, boring, mundane and what did someone say? A Jiffy Lube. [don't mean to insult Jiffy Lube]

B)

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station8arccon.jpg

Looks great. Warm and inviting, implies its role. Blends a mechanical service function with an urban/suburban neighborhood instead of simply contrasting.

hadidf.jpg

Ugly, disjointed, cold, dehumanized, anti-social. Some silly pseudo-deep artistic/social/political statement first, function an afterthought. Clashes with the surrounding neighborhood instead of integrating into it.

The parable of 'The Emperor's New Clothes' is timeless.

Are you serious?!!! On an architecture forum and that's what you have to say about contemporary design? That brick design is pseudo-architecture. It's trite, uninspired, mundane, and is a fake-historic representation of something else. It's just as inspired as Perry Homes or CVS.

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Are you serious?!!! On an architecture forum and that's what you have to say about contemporary design? That brick design is pseudo-architecture. It's trite, uninspired, mundane, and is a fake-historic representation of something else. It's just as inspired as Perry Homes or CVS.

LOL I totally agree I think I like the modern one more.

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What you could do is establish a Houston civic architectural fund. It would be a fund for improving the architecture of our civic projects. We would ask private donators to donate money to the fund and the money can go to civic buildings so we can hire major architects and give them architectural uniqueness. We could also have the donators specify where they want their money to go so the most money goes to the more high demand buildings.

EDIT: Actually scratch that: we probably wouldn't get enough private donators. There's also the factor that the council members might say that we don't need money for our architectural buildings cause we've got this fund.

Edited by Double L
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You know, I would probably all for the "modern" design if form followed function instead of the form following whatever was "chic" at that particular time.

Some buildings are not not supposed to be "pretty" or "stylish" but are there to perform a specific function.

How many times in this forum have we whined about how ugly a type of building was and that the facade should be redone or covered up. Then turn right around and see how the SAME thing has been done to a building 20-40-60 years earlier and we whine that the building underneath needs to be RESTORED to bring out the original facade?

The basic design of a firestation hasn't really changed since B. Franklin CREATED it over 200 years ago!

There is also the fact that to make it "pretty" comes out of MY taxdollars and quite frankly, I want the best for those that serve the community, but not just so it looks pretty!

If that makes it look obsolete in 40 years, then boo-hoo!

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Anything that could be done to improve civic/public architecture in this city would be a big help. IMO, it is consistently mediocre to awful. Exhibit A: The new civil courts.

I've said it before, but Houston used to have a reputation for good architecture. We've totally lost that. It's not necessarily an issue of expense, but faux-historical Jiffy-Lubes are just second rate design, and they aren't always the cheapest for that matter. Big cities aren't ashamed to invest in good design.

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Anything that could be done to improve civic/public architecture in this city would be a big help. IMO, it is consistently mediocre to awful. Exhibit A: The new civil courts.

I've said it before, but Houston used to have a reputation for good architecture. We've totally lost that. It's not necessarily an issue of expense, but faux-historical Jiffy-Lubes are just second rate design, and they aren't always the cheapest for that matter. Big cities aren't ashamed to invest in good design.

I don't know that Houston EVER had a good architectural reputation re: civic/public architecture. I rather doubt it. I have to agree the new fire station is underwhelming and disappointing.

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I don't know that Houston EVER had a good architectural reputation re: civic/public architecture. I rather doubt it. I have to agree the new fire station is underwhelming and disappointing.

You may be right. A lot of our (former) reputation was from skyscrapers like Shell, Pennzoil, and Transco. However, there is some good civic/public architecture. The Mies wings at MFAH were advanced for their time and work well. Menil (kind of semi-public) is a classic. Jones Hall I think is a great design that has aged remarkably well. Still, most examples since the 1980s, starting with the Wortham, have been disappointments.

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I don't know that Houston EVER had a good architectural reputation re: civic/public architecture. I rather doubt it. I have to agree the new fire station is underwhelming and disappointing.

For the most part; however, I do not doubt that the Rice University campus has a good - if not strong - architectural reputation. Thank goodness for that gem in the heart of our city...

Our most recent government buildings are uninspired and disappointing. I hate to say this, but after such blunders as the Hobby Center parking garage, the new Court Building, and now the central fire station (all designed by Houston firms, I may add) - I think we would be better served to consider firms outside of Houston. It is pretty rare to find a prized Houston building designed by a Houston firm. I don't want to step on any toes here... but the evidence is there.

If Houston is truly a global city (and I think it is!), let's start importing some progressive and forward-thinking design... as we did in our not so distant past! If anything, it would make architectural assignments more competitive for the design community here... and trigger better responses.

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Our most recent government buildings are uninspired and disappointing. I hate to say this, but after such blunders as the Hobby Center parking garage, the new Court Building, and now the central fire station (all designed by Houston firms, I may add) - I think we would be better served to consider firms outside of Houston. It is pretty rare to find a prized Houston building designed by a Houston firm. I don't want to step on any toes here... but the evidence is there.

Absolutly. Houston is flush with mediocre architectual firms who can throw out a Jiffy Lube style firestation in their sleep..

We can look out side the box and not pander to the mostly mediocre architects here in town by seeking out the best for such a civic statement as the premier fire station for the 4th largest city in the US.

An architect's fee has traditional been 6%. Sometimes it gets up to 8-9%. The problem seems to be the selectors and their inability to look beyond the Jiffy Lube/Harris county Courthouse mode of cheap and tacky pre-cast concrete architecture.

B)

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Our most recent government buildings are uninspired and disappointing. I hate to say this, but after such blunders as the Hobby Center parking garage, the new Court Building, and now the central fire station (all designed by Houston firms, I may add) - I think we would be better served to consider firms outside of Houston. It is pretty rare to find a prized Houston building designed by a Houston firm. I don't want to step on any toes here... but the evidence is there.

If Houston is truly a global city (and I think it is!), let's start importing some progressive and forward-thinking design... as we did in our not so distant past! If anything, it would make architectural assignments more competitive for the design community here... and trigger better responses.

It's not governmental, but you may want to add the new cathedral to the list. Talk about blowing an opportunity to do something great!

I don't think it is because these projects used local architects. After all, the Hobby Center used a national firm, and THAT sure isn't winning any architecture prizes. <_< The real problem is the lack of vision and imagination on the part of the sponsors (or in the case of the Court Building, utter bad taste). They are the ones signing off on all those mediocre designs. There has to be a feeling in the community that we should have world-class design, and not continue to be complacent and settle for second-best.

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Interesting comments re the new fire station, but as one intimately knowledgeable on the subject Iwould add that is important to consider the client's wishes...and in this case they are very satisfied. Fire has a deep sense of history, commradery, and image, albeit only a century old. Most of us seem to recognize that and the value it has for our community.

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Guest danax

Welcome to the group, T squared.

I would have to agree with the others that it just doesn't look great. It might look better once erected and it does appear to have been an attempt to conform to some of the remaining old DT structures built in brick, but it just looks confused with all of the different angles etc.

But we are, as Rodney Dangerfield would say, " A tough crowd, tough crowd." We want every single structure to be a stunning masterpiece.

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You may be right. A lot of our (former) reputation was from skyscrapers like Shell, Pennzoil, and Transco. However, there is some good civic/public architecture. The Mies wings at MFAH were advanced for their time and work well. Menil (kind of semi-public) is a classic. Jones Hall I think is a great design that has aged remarkably well. Still, most examples since the 1980s, starting with the Wortham, have been disappointments.

Well, I'll add that the Wortham was built in the 80's which were hard on Houston. The budget was tight on the project as well. Those in charge decided that if you can't have both a nice interior and exterior, it would be better to have a nice interior rather than exterior. Hence the plain, exterior design.

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Interesting comments re the new fire station, but as one intimately knowledgeable on the subject Iwould add that is important to consider the client's wishes...and in this case they are very satisfied.
Who are the clients? The firefighters, or the administrators?
Fire has a deep sense of history, commradery, and image, albeit only a century old. Most of us seem to recognize that and the value it has for our community.
Which is exactly why this board is so quick to boo the "jiffy-lube" firehouse design.
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Firefighters are the client, most are not trained design professionals...in fact, not any I suspect...as they must live in and maintain the stations 24/7/365 and are there to put their lives on the line everyday for us, I personnaly would give them deference for their opinions inspite of my own tastes and gladly foot the bill. I like the glass shed station in the previous post and had thought the display of all the fire equipment to the public for our Super Station would have been an interesting idea (but not to the rookie who would have to clean the windows everyday). Take heart, there maybe more oppourtunities in the future.....

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Firefighters are the client, most are not trained design professionals
I don't think you have to be an "trained design professional" to know what a classic American fire station looks like on the outside.
I like the glass shed station in the previous post and had thought the display of all the fire equipment to the public for our Super Station would have been an interesting idea (but not to the rookie who would have to clean the windows everyday).
Nmain's ideal stations wouldn't fit downtown anyway. I could see one of the further out stations with such a modern design though - especially in a high traffic area, such a 33's.
Take heart, there maybe more oppourtunities in the future.....
Like 33's was? Or perhaps 83's, or 86's? 27's is the last Houston Fire Station built with a shred of archetictural identity. Even still, the last traditionally built fire station in this city was built before 1940.

You know who I feel sorry for the most? All those that will stop at this new firestation expecting to get an oil-change in 30 minutes or less.

Edited by Jeebus
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Ultimatly WE are the clients as we foot the bill for yet another mediocre property.

Brace yourselves: I think nmainguy is right on this issue.

Public buildings downtown are in too valuable a plot of land to look mediocre...private developers realize that when designing space for their clients and the City should recognize that...also, I don't know where the fire department HQ is officed, but they should've built significant office space above the station.

Besides, I would think that the firefighters working in the central station would take pride in the uniqueness of their workplace if it were built to be a masterpiece of architecture that everybody recognized as such.

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Nmain's ideal stations wouldn't fit downtown anyway.

You know who I feel sorry for the most? All those that will stop at this new firestation expecting to get an oil-change in 30 minutes or less. :lol: Good one1

I've just been posting fire station pics to show the variety and imagination-not neccessarily for downtown.

...but the one I posted earlier in Hiroshima could go in almost any DT.

Here's some on the opposite end of the spectrum:

Boy Scout troop 60-er...I mean station 33

station33.jpg

Gomer's Axel and Transmission...wait-it's the Cross City FD

StationCC_800.jpg

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Brace yourselves: I think nmainguy is right on this issue.

Public buildings downtown are in too valuable a plot of land to look mediocre...private developers realize that when designing space for their clients and the City should recognize that...also, I don't know where the fire department HQ is officed, but they should've built significant office space above the station.

Besides, I would think that the firefighters working in the central station would take pride in the uniqueness of their workplace if it were built to be a masterpiece of architecture that everybody recognized as such.

Ahhh,,,,nice thought,,,firefighters that can recognize a masterpiece. Just suppose they were shown some of these beautiful "modern" examples....heh,,,heh,,,heh................how do you suppose we got what we got??

So much fun.... and suburbs (as you aptly illustrated) have always been victims of our great architectural deed restriction committees, developer guidelines, or etc,.........ooooh full circle to bite us in the rear .....think about that one....makes you want to go into historic demolition!

Actually, a new Headquarters may have a better chance, read between the lines guys ,,,,,,,, no design precedents there.....

havin' a good time!!

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Ahhh,,,,nice thought,,,firefighters that can recognize a masterpiece. Just suppose they were shown some of these beautiful "modern" examples....heh,,,heh,,,heh................how do you suppose we got what we got??

So much fun.... and suburbs (as you aptly illustrated) have always been victims of our great architectural deed restriction committees, developer guidelines, or etc,.........ooooh full circle to bite us in the rear .....think about that one....makes you want to go into historic demolition!

Actually, a new Headquarters may have a better chance, read between the lines guys ,,,,,,,, no design precedents there.....

havin' a good time!!

Your post is a bit disjointed-not sure what all the commas are for.

Anyway, old #1 was quite avant garde for Houston at the time:

sta1_hose3.jpg

It is now the Landrys Aquarium and all we get is a JiffyLube.

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Ahhh,,,,nice thought,,,firefighters that can recognize a masterpiece. Just suppose they were shown some of these beautiful "modern" examples....heh,,,heh,,,heh................how do you suppose we got what we got??

So much fun.... and suburbs (as you aptly illustrated) have always been victims of our great architectural deed restriction committees, developer guidelines, or etc,.........ooooh full circle to bite us in the rear .....think about that one....makes you want to go into historic demolition!

Actually, a new Headquarters may have a better chance, read between the lines guys ,,,,,,,, no design precedents there.....

havin' a good time!!

Jesus.. I hope you're not drawing up the plans. Then I really will believe the city chose the lowest bidder.

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This is a bit off topic. Don't recall an open thread so I'll post it here

I noticed the other day that there is a sign on a grassy lot along the rail that says something like future site of Fire Fighting Museum. Is this still what they plan to do with this land. The plot is somewhere near the Greyhound(not positive) on the right hand side if heading to Reliant.

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They're still raising the capital to start construction. Fortunately its a non-profit, so the city's Building Services Division isn't involved - or else it would end up looking like a CVS pharmacy.

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  • 3 months later...

I think it would have been cool to see blue arches, and a cool-colored glass facade. Atleast "Boxy", if anything. That would have blended nice with the area, matching with the METRO h.q., Light Rail, Post Midtown, and all the boxy office buildings.

*edit:

Also, I don't think I'm the only one here who is getting annoyed with the thought of the city being the only excuse to take over surface lots. I mean, its better then nothing, I guess... The Park is great, so is the Pavillions (-if god should ever smile upon us), but this sucks.

Edited by Montrose1100
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