The Zerega Avenue EMS project (Emergency Medical Services – an ambulance dispatch and maintenance facility) was commissioned by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose NYC 2030 Plan for the greater metropolitan area forecasts a City responsible to its Citizens and to the Environment.
The project’s site, located in an underserved neighbourhood (on a once abandoned lot), shares the district with low-rise industrial and manufacturing warehouses, high-rise low-income housing project towers, low rise single family homes and the Westchester Creek.
The new facility brings sorely needed emergency services to the Community and, by design, broadcasts an optimistic message; its green roof visible from street and the nearby high-rise residential “projects,” its translucent luminous polycarbonate skin transparent by day and beacon-like at night, and its welcoming cantilevered portico all portend a bright future for the neighbourhood. Zerega serves its role as an active and visible actor in the Community, broadcasting a curated, intelligent and well-crafted message to all. The design provides for the clear, coherent, and drive-through vehicular circulation demanded by the EMS program on the irregular, trapezoidal site while also taking advantage of site attributes including abundant daylight, views of Westchester Creek and proximity to an adjacent Community Garden. Urbanistically, the building is positioned on the southwest corner of the former industrial site to create a street presence on Zerega Aveune. Through careful consideration of the landscape the project contributes to the view “fronting” the Castle Hill Housing residential project across the street. At this residential edge of the site on Havemeyer Aveune the green roof—the fifth façade—creates continuity across the EMS site and the two adjacent lots. The second floor’s translucent canopy, lofted above the tree line, will glow with the 24 hour occupation of the EMS workers preparing to go on tour. Lastly, this side of the site is enlivened by the arrival point of the EMS workers and returning ambulances while minimizing ambulance backing and the impact of the introduction of the station and FDNY vehicles into the neighborhood. This is the first drive-through EMS station of this type in New York City.