Marion Fire Station 1 featured in March issue of Architectural Record


Marion Fire Station 1 is highlighted in the March issue of Architectural Record magazine. The civic issue showcases public buildings in Nova Scotia, Milan, Zurich, San Francisco, and Marion, Iowa.


The two-level 21,000-square-foot fire station reduces response time, establishes a strong and transparent civic presence, and uses biophilic design principles to support fire fighters physical and mental wellness.

The plan and massing is anchored by a two-story apparatus bay. Full-height glass doors on both the north and south elevation maximize daylight and establish a connection to the community. Extending east, shou sugi ban wood, which is charred using controlled fire, wraps the living and office spaces to add depth, texture, and contrast with the smooth plane of the glass.  Interior spaces are complimented by two ipe wood terraces sheltered by a roof and wall trellis. A green roof surrounds all the living spaces and sleeping rooms.  

Trail Blazer written by Izzy Kornblatt reflects on how the design of Marion Fire Station 1 achieves a civic presence without leaning heavily on the traditional iconic hose tower and discusses OPN’s use of biophilic design principles with lead designer David Sorg and retired fire chief Deb Krebill.

Among too many architects today, the idea of biophilia has become a cliché, meaning little more than the application of wood veneer and strategic placement of potted plants. But for Krebill and Sorg, biophilia seems to have instead been the starting point for a return to the very American celebration of nature found in the poetry of Walt Whitman and extended into architectural principles by Sullivan and Wright.

Read the full article here.