Bergmeisterwolf Architekten have essentially turned Italy's Margried volunteer firefighting team into superheroes by building their new fire brigade in the depths of a sharp black-fronted cave. Instead of using up valuable agriculture land, the community opted to carve three caverns out of rock, thereby minimizing the use of new materials and reducing the project's energy load.
Enclosed with a pair of folding glass doors that reveal the red fire trucks and then protected from falling rocks by a strong pitched wall tinted to resemble burned wood, the fire brigade features three large caverns furnished with simple materials such as wood, glass and steel designed to contrast with the plastered interior walls. A heat simulation test conducted prior to construction revealed that only the administrative area of the “cave” needed insulation.
Otherwise, even when it’s 10 degrees Celsius below outside in winter, the cave maintains a fairly steady temperature of about 12 degrees Celsius. At the front, however, which has more exposure to the outside doors, it is colder, so the design team installed triple-insulated glass to mitigate heat loss. A cantilevering glass cube inserted into the cave near the offices brings in natural lighting, further reducing energy requirements. And the remaining heat for hot water and the interior is met with an ecological pellet heating system.
Photography by Jürgen Eheim, Ullrich Egger, and Günter Richard Wett