The Big Roof: A Unique Fire Station Blending into the Landscape

Blending Form and Function in Keelung, Taiwan

The concept of The Big Roof fire station in Keelung, Taiwan, is to adapt the indigenous building style of "mountain house" to create a landmark that seamlessly integrates with the surrounding landscape. Designed by Chuan-Chih Chang, Joe Lin, and Yeling Chen, this innovative fire station showcases the strength of the local community and its connection to the environment.

The Big Roof fire station stands out as a statement of architectural excellence in Keelung, a mountainous and rainy city. The design team aimed to create a building that not only serves its functional purpose but also connects with the urban context and the natural surroundings. The key element of the design is the big sloping roof, which acts as a new layer of the mountain skin, blending the fire station into the landscape.

One of the unique features of The Big Roof is the incorporation of balconies and openings that form special spaces between the building and the landscape. These spaces not only provide stunning views but also create additional depth, allowing for natural ventilation and shading in the summer months. The design team carefully considered the local climate and the need for rain and sun protection, ensuring that the fire station offers both functionality and aesthetic appeal.

Constructed with the local humid weather and limited budget in mind, The Big Roof fire station is designed to be easy to maintain. The use of raw concrete formwork and self-compacting concrete for the main structure and exterior walls ensures durability and cost-effectiveness. To withstand earthquakes, a common occurrence in Taiwan, stone panels and tiles were avoided, and a mineral painting technique was applied to the roof for added waterproofing.

With four floors and a total floor area of 2045 m2, The Big Roof fire station provides efficient office spaces for firefighters as well as comfortable living quarters. The design team recognized the importance of creating a good living environment for firefighters, as it directly impacts their work quality. The various balconies and openings offer breathtaking views and connect the indoor and outdoor spaces, enhancing the overall experience for the firefighters.

The construction of The Big Roof fire station began in March 2017 and was completed in March 2021. Throughout the project, the design team faced challenges posed by the steep mountain terrain and the region's humid weather. However, through close collaboration with contractors and careful planning, they were able to overcome these obstacles and deliver a remarkable architectural masterpiece.

The Big Roof fire station is a testament to the power of regionalism and the integration of architecture with the natural environment. By adapting the "mountain house" style and incorporating unique design elements, Chuan-Chih Chang, Joe Lin, and Yeling Chen have created a fire station that not only serves its purpose but also becomes an integral part of the local residents' lives.

Photo Credit: OS Studio

Award: The Big Roof fire station was awarded the Iron A' Design Award in the Architecture, Building, and Structure Design category in 2023. This prestigious award recognizes the practicality, innovation, and professional standards achieved by the design, contributing to a better world.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Chuan-Chih Chang
Image Credits: photo: OS Studio
Project Team Members: Yen Partnership Architects: Joe Lin, Yenling Chen BBC Architects: ChuanChih Chang
Project Name: The Big Roof
Project Client: Chuan-Chih Chang

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