Photo of Firehouse 55
Photo of Firehouse 55
Photo of Firehouse 55
Photo of Firehouse 55
Photo of Firehouse 55
Photo of Firehouse 55

Firehouse 55

A Neighborhood Fire Station

The challenge: Design a fire station prototype that’s functional, durable, and able to adapt to unique sites. And to implement each as efficiently and inclusively as possible. As our first application of these prototyped studies, Firehouse 55 is a fully functioning, standalone station from which Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue (TVF&R) provides fire protection and emergency medical services to 500,000 residents in one of the fastest growing regions in Oregon. Our active engagement process with contractors, firefighters, and an active and informed neighborhood association led to a fully responsive station; integrated with shared community space and comfortable places for firefighters to recuperate between calls. Firehouse 55 is the efficient, uplifting post TVF&R needs to make the region a safer and more livable place to call home.

West Linn, Oregon
  • 1 story
  • 9952 sq. ft.
  • Completed in 2018



Architecture: Michael Bonn

Interiors: Bethanne Mikkelsen

Architecture Story

A Welcome New Neighbor

Our design for Firehouse 55 began by actively engaging both the firefighters—riding with the team on calls; observing their medical skills and how deeply they care about their community; understanding their functional needs—and their neighborhood, by participating in many community meetings to learn their neighbors’ concerns. TVF&R truly considers their members to be part of the neighborhood and stressed that their new station should reflect that. Insights gathered from these meetings led us to change the upgraded roofing from metal to wood and use colors and siding that matches the residential area. Special exterior lights illuminate the station without shining too brightly, the entire station is fenced for privacy, and the well-worn path to the nearby elementary school remains accessible. Physically, the existing site sits on a steep slope at the narrowest limit of their firetrucks’ turning radii—which is why most fire stations are sited on big, flat spaces. To overcome this, we worked carefully with landscape architects and civil engineers to design a site that accommodates large firetrucks. Photovoltaic-ready and featuring solar-heated water, TVF&R’s nearly 10,000 sq. ft. fire station provides 24/7 living quarters for firefighters and EMS. Exterior insulation adds passive warmth; high-end windows add openness and visibility. A community room can be rented and used by the public such as the local neighborhood associations and Boy Scouts’ troops. A bunk house, office, outdoor BBQ area, kitchen, fitness room, lounge, and apparatus bay make Rosemont Station 55 both fully functional and comfortable. We designed a space where firefighters and emergency medical staff can, after their high-stress calls, relax and unwind.


Interior Story

The Right Balance of Home and Work

After actively researching the firefighters’ needs and working lives—riding with the team on calls; observing their medical skills and how deeply they care about their community—and participating in countless neighborhood meetings to understand their neighbors’ concerns, we learned firefighters need and want a place to decompress and recharge after a high-stress call, and their neighbors want a station that blends in. So our design for the interior was focused on warming the space and creating a welcoming, home-like environment. Neutral, inviting colors and durable materials like the floor coverings make the fire station feel less sterile and institutional. A full-sized dining table serves a dual purpose of group meals as well as meetings. Wood adds a warm, welcoming feel to the community room, which community groups and Scout troops can rent for use. Vetting the station’s design with the people who actually use it uncovered hundreds of innovations. The kitchen has an open, accessible layout to make it efficient and organized. We designed for gender equality, with accommodations for both men and women including separate locker rooms, bathrooms, and sleeping spaces. Dynamic lighting in halls and other high-traffic pathways are designed specifically to transition firefighters from sleep to active response mode for middle-of-the-night emergency calls. TVF&R understands that their members are part of the larger neighborhood, and Firehouse 55 reflects the deep social ties that keep their community strong.