There First


Designed by Elemental Architecture (then The Stein Partnership) Rescue 1, completed in 1988, is the first facility designed for a rescue company. (Courtesy Eduard Hueber)

My story on Rescue 3’s new firehouse in the Bronx, designed by Polshek Partnership, alleged that it was the first such facility ever designed specifically for a rescue company’s needs. Alas, that assertion was woefully wrong. In 1987, Elemental Architecture (then The Stein Partnership) designed the new headquarters for Rescue Company 1—the first rescue company in the world. Located on West 43rd St. in Manhattan, the building includes many features tailored to the elite unit’s needs. These include a quick release system that allows the company’s Zodiac boat to be dropped from the ceiling and attached to the top of the apparatus, a decontamination shower (now a standard feature for FDNY and many other fire departments), and a SCUBA recharging station.

The facade of Rescue 1's original headquarters was salvaged and installed in the dining room bay. (Courtesy Elemental Architecture)

The headquarters project was initiated when Rescue 1’s original building—a 19th-century Napoleon LeBrun structure—was destroyed by a warehouse that collapsed upon it during a fire. In order to preserve a link to this past, the architects salvaged the old building’s facade masonry, ironwork, and apparatus door, reinstalling them in the new facility’s dining room.

Rescue 1 at night. (Courtesy Eduard Hueber)

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