Thursday, August 5, 2010

Precedent 1 - Zivilschutz Zentrum/AllesWirdGut Architektur

Austrian architects, AllesWirdGut Architektur designed the Zivilschultz Zentrum, that is a base for the local ambulance service, volunteer fire brigade, mountain rescue team in the northern Italian town of Innichen, located in a valley of the South Tyrolean High Puster mountains.

The competition was won for the project in 2003 with construction being completed on 2007.


The building is located within a context of small scale residential and while standing out from it’s context, and making itself visible, the building still hides much of it’s bulk by integrating the building within the natural fall of the topology and stretching out the functions along the hillside. It bridges the balance between clearly stating its presence within the larger context of the mountains without overwhelming its surrounding town context, as a volunteer service should.

Functional open space has been inserted between the volumes of the services on both levels which breaks the building into a complex of smaller volumes, allowing for a more integrated relationship with the surrounding context.


With three service located within the one complex, each of these services remain quite distinct yet also connected sharing circulation and access ways. Due to the heavy reliance on vehicles, each service is allocated individual allocated vehicle space, although volunteer parking is shared, as are some training facilities such as the climbing wall.


A significant amount of circulation occurs on the exterior of the building as well as through the vehicle components and living zone within each of the services. The only major internal corridor exists as a division between two services. Multiple entrances exist for both occupants and vehicles due to the nature of the services provided.

Internal Space:

Much of the internal space is for vehicle storage and maintenance, with the operation and living areas being tightly held together. Natural light is key in these areas with the living areas being located in the external zones of the building, with ample windows with scenic panoramas over the town and the mountainscape. The top floor is recessed in order to provide additional light to the areas of the lower floor, such as the change rooms and vehicle space for the alpine rescue, that are adjacent to the hillside.

Vehicle areas in most buildings are usually as pragmatic as possible, but considering the time and central role that these zones play in the function of the building, they are light and airy creating a more enticing place to volunteer.


The major façade material is copper cladding, in part for its ability to be used as roofing as well, in order to integrate the roof as a fifth façade, which is significant due to the view over the building from the surrounding mountains. The material also reflects the identity the building is to have within the context, being a sign post, but also being humble and unpretentious.

The structure including the walls is predominantly concrete.

Relevance to Marine Base:

This precedent is useful in providing ideas for the programmatic layout of the functions, since the Zivilschutz Zentrum and the Marine Base have similar service and accommodation functions albeit in different mediums.
More specifically the Zivilschutz Zentrum houses volunteer organisations and demonstrates how a building can toe the line between humble and making its presence known and felt, which plays a significant role in the theoretical framework for the Marine Base. A base that respects and conveys its volunteer nature, but also makes a significant public statement as a means of public dialogue and inherent marketing.

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