Restless Response: Queens Hospital Emergency Medical Station

CompanyDean/wolf Architects
Lead DesignerKathryn Dean
Design TeamCharles Wolf Chris Kroner
PrizeGold in Architectural Design / Institutional Architecture

The Queens Hospital EMS station was commissioned by the design excellence initiative process implemented by the New York City Department of Design and Construction. The EMS station occupies the northern edge of the existing Queens Hospital campus facing onto the residential scaled Goethals Avenue. The 13,000 square foot building mediates between the disparate scales of the existing ten-story hospital structure and the diminutive two-story bungalows. It is large in plan to address the scale of the hospital and small in section to achieve a residential scale as it faces the neighborhood. The unusual topography of the physical site slopes in two directions. The sloping of the street is mirrored in the gentle slope of the low roof which relieves the height of the street wall on the low end of the site. The upper bar at the rear of the site is employed to create covered parking. Engaging this landform invigorates a dissipated site, respects the scale of the neighborhood, and expresses the restless energy inherent in emergency services. There is also an existing, underground utility tunnel which courses across the entire site. The structural approach minimizes construction in the immediate vicinity of the tunnel. Two abutments support the long span truss for the second floor spanning over the tunnel and distributing the load away. The taut glass and aluminum exterior surfaces impart a crisp, disciplined appearance to the facility, while the transparency constantly makes evident the readiness of the staff of dedicated personnel within. The signature FDNY-red overhead garage doors are the focal point of the street façade. The patterned concrete walls and landscape buffer along with new street trees and lighting denote a civic presence in the neighborhood appropriate to the vital role that the FDNY has in the everyday life of all New Yorkers.