Fire Station, Mellau (AT)

The dual-purpose medium-size structure is located on the right bank of the Mellenbach. The design concept reminds of a fluvial terrace and pays homage to the topography; both longitudinal sides of the structure reference the Geländesprung (jump in the terrain) measuring one and a half stories. This integrates the attractive functional building into the fabric of the surrounding settlement.
The access path, parking lots and the vehicle hall are located on the lower level. The gates open toward the entrance piazza along the quayside, while the coatroom and service rooms at the rear section maintain daylight through a ribbon glazing. The offices of the fire station and the mountain rescue station are accessed along the front corner of the building. Here the concrete wall has been slightly recessed, opening up a corridor that repeats the theme of the “Schopf”, the traditional unheated anteroom outfitted with folding windows or shutters.
Due to fire protection reasons, the large basement of the vehicle hall was built in concrete and outfitted with a wood cladding. A timber constructed upper story was placed atop the structure in a staggered layout. Thus, the structure sports a dynamic form that shelters the north-facing gates of the garage. On the ground floor, the southeast façade of the building faces toward the back, while it is set back on the upper story and becomes the glazed front, balanced by doors and wooden frames. Here the training and recreational rooms are situated. An elegant footbridge allows – unobstructed – access also from this side. For the façade, planed silver fir planes were mounted vertically with grooves and combed joints. Firs are common in Vorarlberg’s forest and provide weatherproof wood. The surfaces will weather in a few years, and then the functional building will blend into the fabric of the village alongside rustic barns.

Client: Gemeinde Mellau
Location: A-6881 Mellau
Architecture: Dietrich | Untertrifaller
Project management: Ralf Broger
Competition: 2003
Construction: 2004-2005
Area: 1,040 m²

site management: Winkel, Mellau / structural engineering: Mader & Flatz, Bregenz / building services: Dür, Lauterach / electronics: Meusburger, Bezau / landscape: Bacher, Linz /// photos: © Bruno Klomfar