Dean/Wolf Architects

Emergency Medical Station 50 at Queens Hospital

Dean/Wolf Architects
3. March 2017
Photo: Paul Warchol (All photographs courtesy of v2com)

The Queens Hospital EMS station was commissioned by the design excellence initiative process implemented by the New York City Department of Design and Construction, for the Fire Department of New York City.

Kathryn Dean, Principal for Dean/Wolf Architects explains the design by staying “I am interested in the capacity for architecture to convey identity and meaning through emotional resonance. I believe this happens through the impact of materials and form coming together in a particular place… In order to understand the building, it is important to understand two departure points: First, the building was commissioned shortly after 9/11. Second, when I work, I often build intuitive paper models to investigate ideas. When I received the commission, I started making these models. After several more rational schemes, the double horizontal bars emerged. It took me a bit of thought to realize why this felt right. They were my own deep emotional response to the fallen towers.”

The street at the edge of the site slopes quite dramatically. You feel the pull of gravity as you walk up or down the street. (Photo: Paul Warchol)
The signature FDNY-red overhead garage doors punctuate the street façade. (Photo : Paul Warchol)

The EMS station occupies the northern edge of the existing Queens Hospital campus facing onto the residentially scaled Goethals Avenue. The 13,000 square foot building mediates between the disparate scales of the existing ten-story hospital structure and the diminutive two-story bungalows. It is large in plan to address the scale of the hospital and small in section to achieve a residential scale as it faces the neighborhood.

The building is a dramatic release of energy similar to the release of energy that happens when an ambulance leaves during an emergency. (Photo: Paul Warchol)

The unusual topography of the physical site slopes in two directions. The sloping of the street is mirrored in the gentle slope of the low roof which relieves the height of the street wall on the low end of the site.  The upper bar at the rear of the site is employed to create covered parking. Engaging this landform invigorates a dissipated site, respects the scale of the neighborhood, and expresses the restless energy inherent in emergency services.

The building's 30-foot cantilever hangs over the driveway leading to staff parking at the rear. (Photo: Paul Warchol)
Second story offices look out upon the nearby community of small scale residential buildings. (Photo: Paul Warchol)

The taut glass and aluminum exterior surfaces impart a crisp, disciplined appearance to the facility, while the transparency constantly makes evident the readiness of the staff of dedicated personnel within. The signature FDNY-red overhead garage doors are the focal point of the street façade. The patterned concrete walls and landscape buffer along with new street trees and lighting denote a civic presence in the neighborhood appropriate to the vital role that the FDNY has in the everyday life of all New Yorkers.

A long span truss carries the entire second floor distributing the load away from an underground utility tunnel. (Photo: Paul Warchol)
FDNY red was custom matched into materials such as the concrete block walls. (Photo: Paul Warchol)

Dean/Wolf Architects of New York City has been named a winner in the first annual AAP American Architecture Prize, which recognizes the most outstanding architecture worldwide.
The AAP American Architecture Prize honours exceptional designs in 41 categories across three disciplines: architectural design, interior design, and landscape architecture. Dean/Wolf Architects won a Gold Medal in the Institutional Architecture Category for Restless Response: Emergency Medical Station 50 at Queens Hospital.

Floor Plans (Drawing: Dean/Wolf Architects)
The 24 hour facility is a beacon for the neighborhood. (Photo: Paul Warchol

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