Vierschach Fire Station

Words by Gian Marco Tosti

Vierschach Fire Station exterior

This rose-tinted fire station is designed by the Italian studio Pedevilla Architects for the little town of Vierschach in South Tyrol, Italy. Located in the western Upper Pusteria Valley at 1130m above sea level, close to the border of Austria, it is an obviously minimal and simply shaped building, situated alongside the main road.

Pedevilla Architects was founded in 2005 by brothers Alexander and Armin Pedevilla, born in Sterzing in 1971 and in 1973 respectively. Located in Bruneck, the studio works on architectural projects in private and public sectors mainly in South Tyrol, as well as creative interior layouts and innovative design concepts. The objective of each layout is always to implement the desires and needs of the people and to incorporate these with a clear architectural stylistic vocabulary.

Vierschach Fire Station exterior stairs
Vierschach Fire Station exterior fire engine

In this iconic project the design prioritises simplicity and the reduction of detail, and in fact, the building is an experiment within itself. Realised and comprised of lightweight concrete, using a product named LiaPor, the outer shell challenges constructive and static parameters, but also provides required insulation.

The elongated two-storey building adapts to the layout of the adjacent main road and creates ample free areas: an upper reception, facing the hall, and a lower parking and practice area connected to the fire engine garage. The functions are well organised, and to connect the second level and the exterior, the architects designed spiral stairs that rise from the porch into the area above.

Vierschach Fire Station exterior on road
Vierschach Fire Station exterior close up

On the side facing the village is the vehicle hall with functional and utility rooms. The hall and its tea kitchen are located facing the main street. The separation of the layers facilitates spatial distinction during celebrations or external use of the hall.

The red colour becomes a real statement and emphasises the originality of the new building. All surfaces of the building have been realised with pigmented concrete, so as to mark the monolithic character of the building. The thickness of the wall remains recognisable and highlights the sheer scale of the construction. The doors and windows have been designed with powder-coated metal, whereas stainless steel equipment was chosen for the sanitary facilities. According to the architects:

The project offers a clear, compact structure. The red colour is a sign of the building’s function and underscores its independence.

Vierschach Fire Station exterior with trees
Vierschach Fire Station exterior with snow

Inside the Fire Station, stone pine and native Loden were used to create a warm contrast to the concrete exterior, providing a welcoming atmosphere in the space, which doubles as a hall for local residents of Vierschach.

A special feature of this project is the high quality level of the shell construction, which minimised finishing works necessary to complete the resulting structure. This respects and evokes the origins of stone buildings. Irregularities and grain also bestow a certain charm to the material. The outer surfaces were rendered water-resistant and slightly reground, while the lightweight concrete was used for the realisation of the outer shell construction.

The work of Pedevilla Architects has ultimately resulted in an award-winning and beautifully minimalist project, presented with ‘Best of the Best 2016’ in architecture by Iconic Awards, among others.

Vierschach Fire Station interior
Vierschach Fire Station exterior window

This article was originally published in Minimalissimo Nº2

Gustav Willeit
Pedevilla Architects
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