In the Summer 2016 issue of Context we look at hospitals, playgrounds, community centers, and senior living projects with an eye on how public health is impacted by design.

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April 5, 2017
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Member News

Cecil Baker + Partners to Design Expansion of Historic Chestnut Hill Fire Station

By Mary Tasillo
Cecil Baker + Partners will lead the architectural design of an addition and renovation of the Engine 37 Fire Station in Chestnut Hill.

Cecil Baker + Partners has been selected to design the expansion of the historic Chestnut Hill Fire Station, Philadelphia’s oldest active firehouse. The City of Philadelphia has engaged the firm to update the building’s facilities while preserving its historic character and reinforcing the Fire Department’s connection to its community.

Cecil Baker + Partners will lead the architectural design of an addition and renovation of the Engine 37 Fire Station, located at 101 West Highland Avenue. The building is a two and one‐half story, gable‐roofed masonry building constructed in 1894. Since that time it has served as the home of Engine Company Number 37 of the Philadelphia Fire Department.

“We have a history of working with the Philadelphia Fire Department to design firehouses that respond to and embrace the needs of their neighborhoods,” said Eric Leighton, AIA, Partner at Cecil Baker + Partners. “In Chestnut Hill, we will be focused on devising the best architectural solution to modernize Engine 37, while preserving its historic integrity and engaging the community in conversations about the building’s expansion.”

Designed by Philadelphia architect John T. Windrim in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, the building was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in 2015. In 2016, it was inducted into the Chestnut Hill Historical Society’s Architectural Hall of Fame, which honors the places in Chestnut Hill that are both historically and architecturally significant.

The building’s narrow bay doors are of insufficient width to accommodate modern fire department apparatus in standard use throughout the city today. Newer engine models cannot fit through the building’s distinctive door openings, which are from the era of horse-drawn apparatus. Expansion of the existing building will be necessary to provide wider bay doors without negative impact on the fabric of the historic structure.

The new addition will maintain the firehouse’s architectural character while improving its ability to serve the community. The Philadelphia Historical Commission will provide input throughout the design process.

This will be Cecil Baker + Partners’ third project with the Philadelphia Fire department, having previously designed a new Engine 38 firehouse in the city’s Tacony section, as well as a pair of adjacent South Philadelphia Police and Fire stations, home to the 1st Police District and the Fire Department's Engine Company 60 and Ladder Company 19. Each of these projects represents a great effort to engage with their local communities.

Cecil Baker + Partners has a strong record of historic preservation, including the adaptive reuse of St. Mary Hospital in Fishtown, which won a Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Award in addition to a Preservation Achievement Award from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. Cecil Baker + Partners will collaborate with Campbell Thomas & Co. on the historic preservation of Engine 37.

ABOUT CECIL BAKER + PARTNERS
Cecil Baker + Partners is an architecture firm providing design services to governmental, educational, institutional and private sector clients. Established in 1982 and based in Philadelphia, the firm's services include feasibility studies, programming, design of new structures, adaptive reuse of existing structures, and interior design. http://www.cecilbakerpartners.com/

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