Floating firehouse of the future planned for SF's Embarcadero
(Courtesy of SF Public Works)

Floating firehouse of the future planned for SF's Embarcadero


The Embarcadero's iconic 1915 fire station still operates today. But with rising sea levels threatening this beloved stretch of San Francisco, the question is for how much longer.

The addition to the aging Firehouse 35 will sit in view alongside the Embarcadero.(Courtesy of SF Public Works)

As we all know, Northern California is experiencing increased rain falls (this year's Bay Area greening is the bright side) and rising sea levels that pose a rather existential threat to our city's waterfront. And while there is yet no plan to decidedly save San Francisco, the groundbreakers at SF Public Works have come up with a blueprint to help the iconic Station 35 withstand the changing tides.

Back in December, the San Francisco Chronicle was the first to break news of the city's plans to construct a buoyant, two-story firehouse, featuring a "climate change–proof" floor plan, that would be built upon a floating platform off Pier 22.5.

"Significant new fire department facilities should be as resilient as possible, and on the Embarcadero that means preparing for sea level rise," said Gabrielle Judd Cirelli, Pier 22.5's project manager at the city's Department of Public Works, to the paper. "This would be cutting-edge for San Francisco, but certainly not bleeding edge."

Last month, SF Public Works released its design plans in a meticulous presentation that details how the 16,300-square-foot floating extension to Firehouse 35 would, in fact, bob up and down with the waves; the new base, too, would be seismically safe.

The new state of the art structure would also house one new rescue watercraft; a third fireboat to join the other two currently in use at Station 35; a co-ed dormitory with 26 beds, office quarters, and gender-specific locker rooms; and ambulance access, as well as medical corridors. The floating structure will be LEED Gold certified, acquiring most of its needed energy from solar panels installed on the rooftop. The two-story extension will be made from reclaimed materials, as well.

Estimated at $40 million, the firehouse-of-the-future could be in full working order by 2021; construction is slated to begin in 2019 on Treasure Island before it will eventually be transported across the Bay.

(Courtesy of SF Public Works)

At 16,300 square feet, SF Public Works' ambitious design will make the firehouse over 20 times the size of the average SF apartment.

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