The new Central Fire Station is a striking, modern and architecturally innovative building located on Eyre Street in Sheffield’s city centre.
Designed by BDP and developed by Hammerson UK for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, it is made up of two main components – an operational community fire station and the services’ headquarters.
Architecturally these components are expressed as two interlocking L-shaped elements – a blue brick fire station and a red brick headquarters joined together by a symbolically important appliance bay.
The fire station is located in Sheffield’s Cultural Industries Quarter conservation area. Although other materials were explored, a brick building respecting the material and scale of some of the older workshops and mills in the area was felt to be appropriate and acceptable to the local planning authority.
There was a strong desire to create a civic building which re-made the building line to Eyre Street, a gateway into Sheffield city centre, and brick works well in this regard.
Forterra’s County Multi Smooth brick was chosen for the red clad areas accommodating the administrative and community services which makes up around two thirds of the building. It was chosen as it fits perfectly with the aged red bricks seen on historic buildings in the area. A blue smooth brick was used for the operational ‘blue light’ areas.
The design of the building is modern, dynamic and progressive while embodying solidity and reliability. It uses brick to give the fire station great presence, as befits a civic building, through the use of heavily radiussed corners, deep reveals and variations in pointing detail and colour.
The red brick is the same throughout the building but the innovative use of pointing detail and colour have created a subtle banded effect to the brickwork. Generally, a natural coloured mortar has been used with a flush finish but, between the windows, a darker grey mortar has been recessed pointed to unify the ‘syncopated’ window openings in a subtle way.
The £19 million, four storey, 59,000 square foot building can accommodate eight fire appliances and has been designed to symbolise a shift in emphasis for the fire service towards greater openness and community engagement. Its highly glazed ground floor gives views into the working fire station and the staircase atrium draws together all its levels, transforming the way the fire service works.
The building itself has improved the appearance of the area, playing an important role in the regeneration of Sheffield and is the first stage in the realisation of the Sevenstone retail quarter. It has been built to exacting environmental standards and has achieved BREEAM Very Good status.