Located on the western edge of Charlottesville, Virginia, the new Charlottesville Fire Department on Fontaine Ave. will not only allow firefighters to respond more quickly to emergencies, it will also serve as a testament to the City’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Despite having to design around a deep ravine in the middle of the site resulting in unconventional hydrology, McKee Carson, LeMay Erickson Willcox Architects, and City government officials teamed up to produce a design that meets LEED Platinum standards.
The site will include a range of strategies designed to capture, treat, and reuse stormwater runoff from the site. A cistern will collect runoff that will be treated and will be used for the facility’s toilets as well as to wash the department’s fleet of vehicles. Further, biofilters will be installed to capture and treat additional runoff through natural processes while also minimizing the total volume of treated runoff reaching stormwater drains. Native plants will be used in all of the site’s vegetated areas.
The department was not only designed in harmony with nature, it is also meant to exist in harmony with the community. Though the site is located within a neighborhood, McKee Carson developed a creative landscaping plan that will use trees and other vegetation to provide sound and visual buffers. In an effort to further connect with the community, the firefighters will honor those who lost their lives in the 9/11 WTC attacks by placing a beam from one of the Towers in the lobby.