Selected competition for a new road works depot and fire station, Brittnau, Switzerland

The selected competition with pre-qualification (6 participants) of the municipality of Brittnau for the new depot in Brittnau was developed by VOSS Architects in collaboration with ZPF Structure, Waldhauser Hermann and Rapp Infra.

The site for the new depot and fire station is located on the edge of the village of Brittnau. It is set back from the main road. On the east side, the site is bordered by the A2 motorway, on the south by a residential area and on the west by the local cemetery. To the north are currently not used areas belonging to the municipality.

The new building is positioned in the centre of the site and, in its compact volume and orientation, takes up the formal language of rural utility buildings and traditional timber barns in the area. The plot is accessed via two entrances and exits. Due to its central positioning on the plot, the building can be driven around and accessed from all sides.

Under a common roof, the building is divided according to the two main functions housed underneath. The parking garage for the fire brigade is located in the south, the parking garage for the road works department in the west. An inner, east-west running central axis separates and at the same time connects the various organisational units within. The access route also connects the cloakrooms in the north-east with all areas of the building, the administration, the theory room and the training rooms as well as the recreation room and the command room on the upper floor.

The cloakrooms are directly accessible from the parking spaces in the east and enable short distances for fire brigade operations. The storage areas for the fire brigade are directly accessible from the fire brigade parking hall. From the command room on the upper floor, the entrance to the property, the outside area of the fire station and the internal parking for the fire trucks can be overlooked. The jointly used drying room is positioned between the two garages. The workshop is attached to the fire brigade's parking area, but can also be accessed independently from the outside by the road works depot. The technical rooms are located centrally in the building and are accessed via a separate entrance.

The theory room is directly connected to the central access corridor, which opens up on the upper floor as a foyer to both parking spaces. The materiality and the orientation along the central ridge of the roof give the room its special character. The training rooms are located opposite on the east façade.

The building is designed as a standardised timber construction with variable timber cladding of the façades on a continuous concrete floor slab. The different sized areas of the timber cladding made of open, untreated and sawed spruce planks divide the façade into different areas according to the functions inside. The large roof spanning over all areas of the depot and fire station gives the building its very own and familiar character.

The wood of the ceilings in the interior gives the rooms warmth and, in combination with the concrete floor on the ground floor and the raw wooden parquet on the upper floor, their very own atmosphere. The generous glazing of the folding doors to the parking spaces and the ribbon windows on the upper floor allow transparency and optimal natural lighting.


© VOSS Architects 2022