Tasked with designing a firehouse sited on two empty lots between Chapel and Crown Streets in New Haven, I focused my project on the problem of the firefighter's pole. The firefighter's pole is a ubiquitous part of firehouse architecture, but is becoming less common due to safety concerns. However, the slides that have been used to replace the pole are typically slow and inefficient. In this firehouse, I began by designing a slide that makes use of the brachistochrone, or the curve of fastest descent. I wrapped that brachistochrone into a double helix to create two slides, and where those slides intersect floor planes helped determine the layout of the firehouse. The living spaces of the firehouse are at a higher elevation and make use of the roofs of nearby buildings for support, and the garage is located below ground, with a ramp exit to Center Street.

Brachistochrone Slide Geometry Diagram

Plan, Elevation, and Section

Perspective Sketch

Composite Site Elevation Photograph
Composite elevation photograph at site, looking West. Darker regions indicate perspective images at street.


Interior Model
Back to Top