An Italian Fire Station That Could Double As A Supervillain Lair
June 11, 2012
There would be no Hollywood villain lair without the technological architecture that gives form to it. In this scenario–that is to say, the Bond scenario–the cunning villain retreats away from the surveillance of the city and government agencies into the depths of some far-flung landscape, burrowed away within some daunting (and obvious) geographical feature that offers both privacy and protection, not too mention an always cool office–just what you’d need if you were building a high-tech gizmo to bring about worldwide destruction. The bowels of the lair typically resemble the interior of a factory, albeit a sleek one, with a bevy of pipes and wires on full display, while the whole complex is fronted to the exterior by a soaring, Googie-like facade or some kind of signage meant to exhibit the individualistic flair of the baddie within.
Compelling, then, that the im fels, a volunteer fire station in the Italian Alps, fits this same description. Designed by Bermeister Wolf, the station is embedded into the base of a 300-foot cliff that overlooks tilled land and isn’t nearly as menacing as it initially seems. Continue.
The decision to build the structure into the rock was the community’s own, which sought to minimize the loss of valuable agricultural land in the area. With the help of explosives, three giant rooms were excavated out of the rock face, two of which were programmed as garages, with the third accommodating the main facilities, encased in a glass volume that projects beyond the rock and the facade.
The interiors were finished in wood and steel, while the natural insulation of the granite foundation helps keep the cavernous rooms warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The triple-insulated glazing helps regulate the temperature of the main house, keeping them constant. The dark facade, meant to evoke the color and texture of charred wood, was made using a composite of concrete and beech coal dust. The slight bowing of facade is not only an expressive flourish, but is actually functional, designed to protect against the threat of falling rocks.
All images: courtesy of the architects