architect: José Miguel Roldán i Mercè Berengué, Roldán + Berengué, arqts

location: Barcellona

year: 2016

The Fire Prevention Center Project has transformed the former Fire Station of Lleida Street, Barcelona, ​​built for the 1929 International Exhibition, into an integrated part in the network of cultural spaces - "Montjuïc, mountain of museums". The original building, designed by the architect Emilio Gutiérrez, was the first of its kind built specifically for this purpose in Spain and is the only historic fire station still preserved in Barcelona. It operated as a fire station until the year 2000 and then became a police station of the National Police until 2011.
The former fire station consisted of three naves that formed a U-shape around the central parking area. The nave, two stories high, is connected on the first floor by a balcony open to the central space. It was constructed with the techniques of its time: the vertical structure was solid brick walls, the floors were constructed with metallic beams and Catalan vaults, and the roof was supported by a system of metal trusses and wood rafters. The new building by José Miguel Roldán i Mercè Berengué, Roldán + Berengué arqts, houses a program of exhibition, education, and communication areas focusing on the prevention of fires, disasters, and emergencies. At the same time, it also functions as a meeting place for retired firefighters associations. The exhibitions come from the extensive and valuable collections of the Barcelona Fire Department, which consists of a variety of material such as vehicles, machinery, equipment, uniforms, and an important photographic collection.
The main entrance of the museum recovers the old historical lateral access of the vehicles avoiding an entrance that was located literally in the axis of the building. The architects reutilized the inner parking area of the fire engines as an exhibition space and opened it to the street: the exhibition space symbolized as a covered street.
The project consisted of integral rehabilitation, conservation and adaptation of the most important typological elements such as the central parking area and the tower, which was originally used for training and the drying of the hoses.

photo by Jordi Surroca

Accommodating the new program required: expansion of the surface by 30%, optimization of the circulation space, and increasing the visual permeability between the different naves. The main transformation of the building focused on the posterior nave: from 2 floors we expanded to 4 and in this nave we located the main staircase, visually connecting the whole building. Now the roof and the terraces are incorporated into the program. Constructively and structurally,  the front blind brick wall to the patio has been replaced with a curtain wall of steel pillars from which hung the 3 new floors and the roof. On the inner side walls the architects removed the old openings and opened the new ones in the corners. Circulation now occur diagonally and the circulation spaces are optimized to free the lateral naves to become exhibition spaces. Arched windows and doors release these new permeabilities in the corners of the central exhibition space.

photo by Jordi Surroca

The new openings are realized with a delicate method of disc cutting through the existing brick walls. The old practice tower is incorporated as an element of vertical connection, symbolic and functional. The conditioning system per stratification diffuses air only into the lower parts of the building: reduction of 30% of the consumption because it is conditioned only the occupied volume, using the radiant floor for heating and cooling; additional reduction through the use of CO2 sensors and a variable airflow system enables real-time adaption to the needs of each moment; direct radiation from the south is avoided by removing the roof skylight; maximum natural illumination form the main façade towards the central space.

promoter: Safety, Prevention and Mobility Department, Barcelona City Council
architects: José Miguel Roldán i Mercè Berengué, Roldán + Berengué, arqts.
architects collaborators: Vicenç Sanz, Zana Bosnic, Marc Rifà, David Bravo, Dora Filipovic, Nika Keller, Juanjo Pérez Jarque, Andrea Lupiac
installation: Lluís de la Torre (Grupo JG)
project director: Josep Barjuan, Head of Logistics Infrastructure of the Safety, Prevention e Mobility Department, Barcelona City Council
project manager: Estrella Ordóñez, architect, BIMSA
museography project: Magma Cultura
direction of execution: Enric Peña (AT3 Oller-Peña)
photographer: Jordi Surroca
location: c/ Lleida 30 08004 Barcelona
competition date: november 2013
project date: may 2014
construction date: 27 october 2014   construction end: 25 may 2016
opening: 11 November 2016
planning: Special protection plan and architectural heritage catalogue district 3; part of the joint special area of the Montjuic Park
qualification: 7c, public facility
heritage protected buildings catalog: D of documentation interest (can be demolished with previous documentation)
parcel: 1.229 sqm
original built surface: 1.095 sqm
expanded built surface: 1.433 sqm
number of floors: ground floor +3; originally ground floor +1
height above the ground: 10,31 m (flat roof), 14,62 m (inclined roof), 30,23 m (top of the tower)
construction date: 1929 (International Exhibition Barcelona)
author of the original project: Emilio Gutiérrez, Architect and Engineer