Hennebery Eddy Architects | Photo: Josh Partee

Wood: Long-lasting public works beauty and performance

The taxpayers of Multnomah County, Oregon point with pride at their new 10,120 square foot fire station. They don’t think twice about a fire house made of wood. The interesting part? Fire helped craft a structure of uncommon beauty and lasting resilience.

Project Details

It’s not often that firefighters eagerly bid to work in a fire station seared by flame. Yet that’s exactly the case with a new fire station in rural Multnomah County, Oregon, just east of Portland. Welcome to Fire Station 76. The $3.24 million facility is not only distinguished by exposed 27-foot tall glulam Tudor-style arches in the expansive apparatus bay, but also by a shou sugi ban-treated barn wood cladding as part of the living quarter’s rain screen system.

Code Compliant

Complying with code, even Oregon’s rigorous Structural Specialty Code for Essential Facilities proved routine, reports project architect Camilla Cok, AIA, of Hennebery Eddy Architects, an award-winning regional architectural firm based in Portland, Ore. The design team made provision for increased load requirements expected of an essential facility to help ensure uninterrupted operation following a major seismic or weather event. The glulam Tudor arches in the bay and multiple plywood shearwalls in the living quarters serve as an efficient lateral-force resisting system. “The decision to go with wood,” Cok says, “helped achieve a resilient structure designed for durability, redundancy, and recovery.”

Firefighter Friendly

Western red cedar marks the fire station interior, from the living quarters for the crew of four full-time firefighters to the tongue-and-groove cedar decking vault over the apparatus bay. The glulam arches in the bay serve as part of the primary structural frame and were designed to resist vertical and lateral loads as the area’s tough building code requires.

WOOD: LONG-LASTING PUBLIC WORKS BEAUTY AND PERFORMANCE